Millions of people visit Facebook everyday. But how many people know it offers the following to its employees:
100% of employee benefit premiums and 50% of any dependent premiums in the United States. This includes medical, dental, vision, life insurance and disability coverage.
50% reimbursement of most monthly gym fees.
Offers all eligible full-time, U.S. employees up to 4 months of Paid Parental Leave. While an employee is on Paid Parental Leave, Facebook will continue all health benefits … gym membership and Purple Tie.
$4,000 baby cash to all new custodial parents who are full-time U.S. employees at the time of birth or placement.
Up to $3,000 toward day care/babysitting assistance per year for all full-time regular employees who have one or more children age 5 or under.
Microkitchens and lots of free snacks at just about all its major worldwide locations. At Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters, it offers free breakfast, lunch and dinner.
According to Facebook's 's website: “If you're sick, stay home and get better (unlimited sick days.) There are also 11 paid holidays observed.”
Laundry, dry cleaning, photo processing, and leather repair for employees at its headquarters. Drop your laundry off at work and they return it right to your desk.
There is no such section in this blog, but with a picture like this maybe there ought to be.
This picture was published today and presumably taken yesterday or sometime in the past couple of days. , it shows Talb bin Himyar طلب بن حمير tribesmen in the southern Yafi' mountains region in Yemen.
The last leader of the Soviet Union has told NATO that "victory is impossible in Afghanistan." Mikhail Gorbachev told the BBC that the alternative to withdrawal from Afghanistan was "another Vietnam."
You would've thought that the US which provides the overwhelming majority of NATO's forces in Afghanistan already knew this. It's not like this is the Americans' first foray into Afghanistan. Back in the 1980s the United States and its allies fought the Soviets by proxy in Afghanistan, supporting local Afghan militias, aka Mujahideen. The Muj, as they were called by the press corps, proceeded to turn the Soviets' life into a living nightmare prompting the eventual withdrawal. The Muj used US Stinger and British Blowpipe missiles as well as Egyptian-made AK-47s (I saw one there in 1995) and an assortment of other bang bang materiel. That the Muj then pointed their guns at each other and turned virtually the whole country into rubble is superfluous. Afghanistan became a forgotten country in the collective conscience of the world. By then it didn't matter as the Soviets had been defeated. As for the unfortunate civilians, well... who cares.
Isn't there somewhere a saying about history repeating itself?
A court in Iraq has condemned former foreign minister Tariq Aziz to die. He was convicted of involvement in the killing, during the Saddam era, of members of the Shiite Dawa Party which is led today by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. This is the same Maliki whose security forces stand accused, as a result of the documents published by Wikileaks, of the torture and murder of Iraqi civilians.
In all my years in journalism hearing about the reports of extra-judicial killings, torture and atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein's regime not once did anyone raise the name of Tariq Aziz as linked with anything remotely close.
But with Iraq the way it is I am not surprised. These are the same people who saw fit to execute Saddam on the first day Eid al-Adha, a sacred day begun with prayers to God where the only shedding of blood permitted is that of the sheep sacrificed in the tradition of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). Think of an execution taking place early on Christmas Day. Note that I'm not commenting on Saddam's guilt or innocence.
"Did I commit a crime against any civilian, military or religious man? The answer is no... All decisions were taken by president Saddam Hussein. I held a political position, I did not participate in any of the crimes that were raised against me personally. Out of hundreds of complaints, nobody has mentioned me in person."
Tariq Aziz in an interview with the Guardian in August.
Transparency International has released the Corruption Perceptions Index for 2010. What is interesting is that Qatar, which comes in at number 19 and tops all Arab countries and Israel for transparency, has outranked the United Kingdom and United States on the list! The full report can be downloaded here.
The 99 is a comic series with a twist: The characters are all open-minded Muslim superheroes who set out to present human values to their (youthful) readership. It's something President Obama saw fit to praise.
"And this week, in what is perhaps the ultimate comic-book accolade, they will join forces with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. DC Comics, the US publishing giant, will publish the first of six special crossover issues in which The 99 will be fighting crime alongside the Justice League of America, the fictional superhero team that includes Superman and Batman." [Observer]
Enter the xenophobic fear-mongers such as the New York Post's Andrea Peyser who immediately considered this one of thoseIn case of emergency break glass situations:
"Hide your face and grab the kids. Coming soon to a TV in your child's bedroom is a posse of righteous, Sharia-com pliant Muslim superheroes -- including one who fights crime hidden head-to-toe by a burqa.
These Islamic butt-kickers are ready to bring truth, justice and indoctrination to impressionable Western minds."
And wasn't Socrates accused and found guilty of corrupting the minds of the youth?
The man behind The 99 is Kuwaiti Naif [Nayef] al-Mutawa who has raised $30 million to bring the animated series to US television screens. In my opinion al-Mutawa is doing his bit in shining a light in this enveloping darkness. His intended audience is the youth which I am certain he won't be corrupting, indoctrinating or whatever other ridiculous charges are thrown at him and the project. Smart move. So more power to him. And I salute all those involved in the project for their courage in these turbulent times. Personally I can't wait for this series to hit the airwaves and I hope the so-called controversy doesn't derail this program.
I personally wouldn't mind being saved by Noora in the company of Widad and Wonder Woman!
The 99 officially reside here.
Here, here and here is some more information on The 99.
So Hamid Karzai acknowledges that his presidential office receives hundreds of thousands of Euros in cash and that this is absolutely "transparent". Maybe the transparent bit is the plastic bags that the money comes in.
Not that Aghanistan is the only place that this takes place in. But the cash is ususally delivered in briefcases, backpacks or satchels. Obviously the intention of leaking this story to the New York Times was to embarrass Karzai and expose the cash source (Iran), which it did, hence the press conference and the admission.
I received an invitation in the mail today for an exhibition at the Galerie Nikki Diana Marquardt. The exhibition is entitled Makings of an Artist II, Afghanistan 2010: The Contemporary Challenge.
The flipside of the invitation (below) was Afghan artist Amanullah Mojadidi's rendition of an election poster.
The exhibition runs from 23-31 October 23 and features the work of the winners of the Afghan contemporary art prize 2010 Mohsen Wahidi and Jalal Hussaini & Jumpcutfilms as well as 5 other Afghan artists: Farid Khurrami, Amanullah Mojadidi, Zolaykha Sherzad, Sheenkai Stanizai and Rahim Walizada. So if you are reading this and happen to be in Paris at the time why not drop by.
More information is here.
Arguably the greatest. To my mind he's unquestionably the greatest footballer ever.
The picture of him below from the 1982 World Cup speaks volumes. As does his goal against England in 1986. No, not that one, not the one that the English keep complaining about and calling him a cheat for. I mean the greatest World Cup goal of all time, the goal he brilliantly scored to prove to the English he can do it against half their team, the Goal of the Century. The second goal he scored in that game.
I've seen a YouTube video comparing a goal scored by Lionel Messi to that gem of Maradona's. But Messi's goal came in an evening game in the Spanish league. People fail to understand that no comparison can be made: Maradona scored his goal in the World Cup, against England, in the searing heat at 1 p.m. in Mexico.
But back to '82, here it is, 1 of him and 6 of them.
Were they not so ignorant and bigoted, I would find the multitude of anti-Islamic views spewed out by certain blocks of US and European media and politicians stupidly funny. It's like a runaway train on board which is a who's who of fear mongers, bigots and isolationists jockeying for airtime and votes.
Thankfully we can still count on sane heads to counter these dark-age views.
There are people like Dean Obeidallah who has given us his very astute and witty "The Muslim Double Standard" which can be found here.
Meanwhile Glenn Greenwald does a rundown of the latest and greatest media double standards here.
There is much to do in the Arab and Islamic world, a great deal of improvement and progress yet to be made. But we are not crazed and bloodthirsty madmen and women who are on a mission to subjugate the West.
Every society has its extremists.
Me, I went to a school whose motto was "Ex Oriente Lux", Light from the East. I and millions of others like me have this light deep within our hearts and souls. It is genuine, it is warm and it is sincere.
A man on a long journey through a perpetual desert.
The opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the views of any of my employers, past, present or future.