Barack Obama writes to Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez on engagement

first_imgMarch 22, 2019 /Sports News – National Barack Obama writes to Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez on engagement Beau Lund Written by FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailABC/Kelsey McNeal(NEW YORK) — Everyone was excited after one of Hollywood’s favorite couples, Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, made it official earlier this month and got engaged. And “everyone” even included former President Barack Obama.Obama sent a handwritten note to the couple, which the former MLB champion shared on Twitter early Friday morning. This means the world to us. #44— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) March 22, 2019“This means the world to us,” the former New York Yankee wrote. In the card, Obama penned some advice about facing whatever challenges life brings with someone you love.A-Rod broke the news of the engagement two weeks ago on Instagram, sharing a picture of Lopez’s ring with the caption, “She said yes.”J.Lo posted the same shot on her Instagram account for her 88 million followers to see. The actress and retired New York Yankees legend began dating last winter and made their red carpet debut at the Met Gala later that year. They seem to have been inseparable ever since.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Juab Product Ashton Seely To Compete at UVU Wrestling Intrasquad Matches Wednesday

first_img Tags: Ashton Seely/Cowboy Open/Greg Wililams/Jayden Woodruff/University of Wyoming/UVU Wrestling Brad James Written by October 29, 2019 /Sports News – Local Juab Product Ashton Seely To Compete at UVU Wrestling Intrasquad Matches Wednesday FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailOREM, Utah-Wednesday, Utah Valley Wrestling hosts its annual intrasquad match with a former Mid-Utah Radio Sports Network star athlete having a chance to show his stuff.Redshirt sophomore Ashton Seely, a native of Nephi and the first four-time state champion wrestler in Juab High School history, is vying for the right to start for head coach Greg Williams at 197 pounds.During this match, he will compete against redshirt freshman Jayden Woodruff. Woodruff went 10-0 last season while competing as an unattached wrestler during his redshirt campaign.Seely is considered “much improved” by the Wolverines’ official athletic department Web site, Wolverines’ season officially commences November 2 at the Cowboy Open hosted by the University of Wyoming at Laramie, Wyo.last_img read more

Mexican Navy commissions tenth Tenochtitlan-class vessel

first_img November 8, 2017 Back to overview,Home naval-today Mexican Navy commissions tenth Tenochtitlan-class vessel ARM Chichen Itza Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto commissioned the Mexican Navy’s tenth Tenochtitlan-class patrol vessel ARM Chichen Itza (PC 340) in a ceremony on November 6.The ship was built at the Mexican Navy yard in Tampico (ASTIMAR 1) and launched in June 2017.The 42-meter patrol vessels are based on the Damen Stan Patrol 4207 design for which the Dutch shipbuilder provided engineering, material package, technical assistance and crew training.The vessels are named after Mexican historical sites and will perform surveillance operations, interdiction, search and rescue operations in addition to combating illegal activities at sea in the Mexican maritime zones.Mexican defense ministry envisions to build a total of 20 vessels in the class. View post tag: Mexican Navy Authorities Former USS Hurst sunk on the same day Coinciding with the commissioning of ARM Chichen Itza was the controlled sinking of ARM Comodoro Manuel Azueta (A06), a former US Navy Edsall-class destroyer USS Hurst bought by Mexico from the US in 1973.The ship was scuttled in the Rizo reef zone off Antón Lizardo, Veracruz, where she will serve as an artificial reef. Mexican Navy commissions tenth Tenochtitlan-class vessel ARM Chichen Itza View post tag: Tenochtitlan-class Share this article View post tag: ARM Chichen Itzalast_img read more

Blue Lobster Leaves Sea Isle, Arrives at New Home at Adventure Aquarium

first_imgEnding its weeklong captivity in Sea Isle City, the blue lobster rests on the dock just before making the trip to Adventure Aquarium. By Donald WittkowskiIt was moving day on Tuesday, but the rare blue lobster was in no mood to leave its home at the Jersey Shore.The feisty crustacean raised its two claws a few times in a fighting posture, daring anyone to try to pick it up from the dock in Sea Isle City.But biologists Nicole Gioia and Samantha Ehinger of the Adventure Aquarium were able to corral the lobster with little trouble and then gently submerged it in a cooler filled with chilly water. The cooler, in turn, was placed in the back of an aquarium van.After a 90-minute ride from Sea Isle to Camden, the lobster safely arrived at its new home at Adventure Aquarium. Plans call for putting it on public display in child-friendly touch tanks as the aquarium’s newest exotic attraction.Ehinger explained that, on average, only one in every two million lobsters is blue, a result of a genetic defect.“This guy’s so cute. I can’t stand it,” Ehinger said with a laugh while marveling over the smallish, 1.5-pound lobster resplendent in a brilliant blue hue.Adventure Aquarium biologists Nicole Gioia, left, and Samantha Ehinger examine the 1.5-pound lobster.The lobster was caught by the crew of the Sea Isle-based commercial fishing boat Two Dukes on Oct. 23 about 85 miles off the coast of New Jersey. For the past week, it was held captive in a container submerged in a lagoon where the boat is moored in Sea Isle City’s historic Fish Alley district. During that time, it was fed sardines, butterfish and herring.Commercial lobsterman Eric Burcaw Sr., the owner of Two Dukes, offered to donate the creature to Adventure Aquarium to make sure it would be saved. The aquarium agreed to accept it on Monday and sent Gioia and Ehinger to Sea Isle on Tuesday to pick it up.Burcaw’s sons, Eric Jr. and Kevin, caught the crustacean while out on a lobster-fishing trip. At the urging of the Burcaw family, Gioia and Ehinger began calling the male lobster Duke in honor of the Twin Dukes fishing boat.“Duke and Elvis, I like it,” Ehinger said.Elvis is another blue lobster already on display at Adventure Aquarium. Elvis has attained celebrity status through a series of promotional appearances, including a stop on NBC’s “Today” show.Elvis actually is a female lobster, much bigger than Duke. Gioia and Ehinger weren’t sure whether both lobsters would be put on display together in the same touch tank.The lobster is placed in a cooler filled with chilly water for the trip from Sea Isle City to Camden.Scientists believe that lobsters may live as long as 100 years, but no one has yet figured out a way to accurately tell their age, the Adventure Aquarium website says. Having two of the remarkably rare blue lobsters is quite a public relations coup for the aquarium.“At this point, we’re very excited to bring him into our collection and have him at our aquarium,” Adventure Aquarium spokeswoman Deanna Sabec said of the second blue lobster.Bob Burcaw, the 83-year-old patriarch of the Burcaw family, had never seen a blue lobster before during his career as a commercial fisherman. The senior Burcaw was left in charge of the blue lobster Tuesday morning because his son and grandsons were in North Carolina picking up a new boat for their company.“I think it’s pretty amazing,” said Burcaw, who was a commercial fisherman for about 20 years before he retired at 65.Bob Burcaw, patriarch of the Sea Isle City commercial fishing family that caught the lobster, and his daughter, Lori Wilson, marvel over the rare blue crustacean.Burcaw’s daughter, Lori Wilson, said she had only seen blue lobsters in pictures before. On Tuesday, she got her first look at a live one after removing it from the container and placing it on the dock.“I simply can’t believe it,” she exclaimed.A few minutes later, Gioia and Ehinger arrived to take the lobster – its claws raised in defiance – to its new home at the aquarium.The lobster arrives at its new home Tuesday afternoon at Adventure Aquarium.last_img read more

Caffeine rush

first_imgAcoffee shop where you can buy all the fixtures and fittings? Welcome to BHS’s Coffee Lounge concept, on trial at six stores across the UK.Retail director Tony Brown says BHS is looking at ways to put discreet price tags on the furniture – brown leather chairs, fluffy light fittings, antique-style mirrors. These are all available for sale in the relevant departments of the department stores.The price tags idea is one of many tweaks that the retailer plans to make as it perfects the Coffee Lounge brand, which went on trial earlier this year and which Brown reports chairman Philip Green has “fallen in love with”.BHS created the new concept with its nine huge home interior furnishings stores in mind, looking to operators such as Costa Coffee, Caffè Nero and Starbucks for inspiration. But it soon realised that the format could also be introduced in its standard department stores.It now plans to open coffee shops in 50 of its 185 stores over the next year, replacing its existing grab-and-go self-service coffee counters, where customers help themselves to coffee from a machine. The new concept will do everything a high street coffee shop does, only better, according to Brown.The focus of the Coffee Lounge range is on premium quality, freshness and style. Trained Staff serve the Douwe Egberts premium coffee along with a dose of friendly banter.A range of thaw-and-serve cakes and pastries is sold from the counter. There are also what Brown calls “awesome sandwiches” on offer. These are made up on site, with a variety of speciality breads and fillings supplied by the Warwickshire-based Sandwich Factory. Prices start at £2.49.Brown says: “We want to come away from the skillet for sandwiches (triangular wedges) and offer customers something made in-store.”That said, there is a variety of pre-packed sandwich wedges in the chiller cabinet, alongside premium smoothies and cold drinks; this is not the place to pick up a can of Coke or, indeed, a lower-margin confectionery product.Opening hours for the Coffee Lounges compete with the high street coffee brands. The flagship Oxford Street BHS Coffee Lounge in London opens before the store, at 7.30am, using a side entrance, and stays open right through to when the store closes at 9pm,That BHS, once considered the poor cousin to Marks & Spencer, has committed to building its own coffee brand may seem a slight departure from its core clothing business. But Brown explains the move is a natural evolution. He says the retailer has all the expertise it needs to launch its own coffee chain, building on experience from its in-store restaurants and grab-and-go coffee areas. Its total foodservice operation, under the leadership of Roger Bolton, is already worth £80m a year.There was never any question of inviting an outside expert, such as Starbucks, into BHS to operate these coffee concessions. “Why should we hand over our profit?” asks Brown.The new format complements BHS’s in-store restaurants and carries some of the same range, Brown says. The restaurants, which mainly sell full meals, tend to become ghost towns after the lunchtime rush. “Customers don’t tend to come into our traditional restaurants in the afternoon,” Brown explains.muted ColoursA BHS in-house design team put together a colour mix of muted limes and chocolates for the lounge, along with lots of comfy leather. No outside agencies were used. Installation is carried out by regular BHS shopfitter Michelangelo. Brown says this keeps costs down. A Coffee Lounge can easily be “dropped” into a store, he says. Overheads are low, and a Lounge is expected to cover its investment costs in one to two years.This gives BHS flexibility as it experiments with the concept. The idea is still in its infancy, Brown says, and lots of tweaks are being made, tweaks that he says Philip Green is taking a personal interest in. One question being looked at is range. There is no standard confectionery, such as chocolate bars, on offer in the pilot lounges at the moment.With poor margins on confectionery, muffins and cakes are far more lucrative snacks. But Green has a plan to introduce sweet shop lines in a neighbouring part of the store, an express area complementing the seating area and making sure customers can get everything they want at BHS.Another undecided area is bake-off. BHS does not currently bake off in its coffee shops. Brown recognises the advantages of the smell of fresh baking wafting into the store from the lounge, and that customers will appreciate a warm range.But the drawback is that ovens will take up vital space. The retailer will experiment with bake-off in its Livingston store, which has the space for ovens and is due to launch a Coffee Lounge in this month.BHS also plans to introduce a loyalty card scheme for the Lounge, similar to one operated by Caffè Nero. Customers collect stamps as they buy five coffees, getting the sixth free, encouraging repeat trade and building a loyal customer base.As these areas are addressed, it is clear the Coffee Lounge remains a work in progress. But the signs are that it is a winning solution, encouraging people to spend more time and money in BHS. The company’s early research suggests that 35% of customers stop for refreshments in shops with pilot Coffee Lounges, compared with only 5% in standard stores. n—-=== BHS history ===British Home Stores opened its doors for the first time in Brixton in 1928. It became a public company in 1931.In 1986 it merged with Habitat/Mothercare to form Storehouse. BHS replaced British Home Stores as the registered company name, reinforced by a new company logo and corporate image.In May 2000, Monaco-based retail billionaire Philip Green bought BHS from the Storehouse Group for £220m. BHS Ltd is now a private retailer.Last month BHS announced a 60% fall in annual profits, a setback owner Philip Green said was “disappointing”.Pre-tax profits fell to £42.2m in the year to the end of April, from £106.7m in 2004-5. This was blamed on poor performance on women’s wear, and Green said the company had got its merchandise wrong in many areas, notably in the crucial women’s wear market. He said he had been investing “in the future growth” of the BHS brand, having spent £13m on 10 new stores.last_img read more

Daily Bread takes action on range

first_imgDaily Bread has revamped its offer, introducing new ranges, new packaging and display materials, as well as setting up a seven-day-a-week national delivery service and launching its new website.New for 2010 are a range of Hot Options, which include a breakfast muffin with free- range egg, crispy bacon, cheese and ketchup. New toasties include ham & cheddar, and mature cheddar & tomato, while a new panini pepperoni with roasted peppers topped with cheese and mayo has also been developed.Other recent menu developments include Seasonal Specials alongside the firm’s Premium and Classics sandwich ranges, and a new line of freshly prepared salads such as roasted salmon & couscous, chicken Caesar salad, pesto pasta salad and feta salad. A new gluten-free bread is also on offer initially as the carrier for its egg and chive sandwich.Daily Bread is a subsidiary of Hain Celestial, and a holder of Her Majesty The Queen’s Royal read more

This Guy Makes Instruments Out Of Ice And Holds Concerts In An Igloo [Watch]

first_imgPeople make all kinds of things out of ice, from sculptures to entire buildings. But the work of ice sculpturist Tim Linhart goes above and beyond visual beauty to create a truly incredible, multi-sensory experience. Linhart began making instruments out of ice over 30 years ago in the Arctic region of Luleå, Swedish Lapland. Over time, the scope of his vision has expanded by leaps and bounds. Today, you can go to one of his specially-designed ice concert halls and watch bands perform a wide array of music–entirely on instruments made of ice. But don’t just take our word for it; this is something you need to see (and hear) to believe. Watch Linhart explain his creative process in the National Geographic segment below:The video features incredible footage of musicians performing with Linhart’s ice instruments–from guitars to violins to xylophones to drums and beyond. Linhart also explains how he approaches the challenge of maintaining and keeping the instruments tune during performances as natural heat sources inevitably begin to melt them.As Linhart explains in a second video below (via Ice Music’s YouTube page), “There are so many places where it’s cold, and the winter is dark and long. We should be going outside and involving ourselves in the climate and the environment we live in. And this is a great way for people here to do that.” For that reason, he is committed to having a variety of different kinds of performances in his Swedish Ice Music palace. “We wanna have a wide variety of musical events so that there’s something fun and interesting for people to come and see, not just once but repeatedly. If you live [here], we hope this becomes a place you take your date.”You can learn more about Tim Linhart and his incredible work here.[Cover images via Ice Music’s website]last_img read more

Lecture explores relationship between laws and justice

first_imgAlthough laws are created to form a more just society, Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated that laws themselves can be unjust, according to Fr. Dominic Legge, an instructor in systematic theology at the Dominican House of Studies.“Sometimes it is possible that the positive law makes something legal that should be illegal. It certainly happened in totalitarian states like Nazi Germany, but it also has happened in the United States in the 1960s. Even a democratic society can create an ‘illegal’ law,” Legge said. “It was actually illegal to help fellow Jews in Nazi Germany, but would we not have helped these oppressed?”Legge spoke Monday afternoon on “Martin Luther King Jr. and the Question of ‘Illegal Laws’: Civil Law Justice, and Morality,” an event sponsored by the Constitutional Studies Department and the Tocqueville Program for Inquiry into Religion and Public Life. “Part of Dr. King’s argument concerns … the relationship between justice and the dignity of the human person. Because of the people we are, we have dignity and claims to this dignity that other people should respect,” Legge said. According to Legge, Dr. King argued individuals cannot appeal to the opinion of the masses to determine if a law is just. “His argument is that discrimination goes against this dignity, and this is his basis for arguing that racial segregation is unjust,” he said. “He appeals to the basic truth of what human beings are, and no law can go against that basic human dignity.”Legge focused on the fact that racial segregation was never actually illegal, according to the Constitution or even local law. For examples of this reality, Legge said one can look at some Supreme Court decisions in which even the highest court has gotten it wrong. “Think, for example, of the Dred Scott decision, or the 1944 case in which the Supreme Court upheld the internment of Japanese citizens without a trial. In King’s own day, this is a very poignant question,” he said. Supplementally, Legge contended that King argued for the natural moral law, without the bounds of a higher lawgiver. “He does not appeal to a higher law-giver like God, which is a really important point. It’s not because God gave us Ten Commandments, it’s because there’s a sort of moral ordering to this world,” he said. “Both law and justice are concerned with the basic good of the human person.”Legge said the more important argument was about not violating basic moral law. “Moral theology is about what’s good for the human person, and that means that our laws should be framed with what the human person is. No positive law ever has the right to make those things illegal,” Legge said. “There is no law that can be abstracted from moral understanding.”Fundamentally, Legge said, we need to seek what is good for the entirety of society. “There are some things about the kinds of beings we are that lead us to flourish, and some things that really hurt who we are, so we need to find what is good to help us to flourish,” he said. “There are also some things that are fundamental to who we are, and they belong to a higher level.” Legge also spoke on the justification of civil disobedience, particularly in King’s case. “When you have this kind of systematic injustice … civil disobedience is a way to address this issue, and if you do this, then you’re appealing to this sort of higher justice,” he said. “And when is that justified, I mean, we could go on and disagree, but I think that we can agree that this was grave injustice and civil disobedience was in fact justified.” Legge emphasized the importance of celebrating this holiday. “It’s right for us to celebrate MLK on this day, and we are right to be proud of his legacy. … It’s a shining episode in our history,” Legge said. Tags: Constitutional Studies, Martin Luther King Jr., MLK, MLK Day, natural lawlast_img read more

Green Mountain Power to buy electricity from Seabrook

first_imgGreen Mountain Power Corp,Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell announced today that it has reached a power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy Resources LLC, owner of the Seabrook, NH, nuclear power plant. The 23-year agreement is a fixed-price contract that adjusts with an inflation mechanism to protect customers from future power price swings.Click photo to watch.The energy price for 2012 is 4.66 cents per kilowatt hour. The initial load will be for 60 megawatts and over time be reduced to 40 MW. The 60 MW represents about 20 percent of GMP’s portfolio.GMP also negotiated a reserve of another 25 MW at the same price that Powell said will be available to other Vermont utilities, though no other has committed to it yet.Powell said: ‘It is a contract that fulfills the vision and promise that we made to our customers three years ago, which was to deliver power that is low in carbon, low in cost and incredibly reliable, while we also ramp up cost-effective renewable energy options for Vermont’s future.’NextEra CEO Lew Hay said: ‘We’re delighted to be able to provide power for a very long time that’s very affordable and is zero carbon output. We’re proud of the Seabrook plant. We’ve owned and operated that plant for the better part of eight years and it’s a very reliable plant. It’s a very efficient plant. And we hope this is the beginning of even more things to come.’NextEra bought Seabrook in 2002. Its license does not expire until 2030.Hay said Seabrook has plenty of capacity to make more deals but would not say if he is in negotiations with other Vermont utilities. He said NextEra was approached by Entergy Nuclear several months ago about buying the Vermont Yankee plant. Entergy said in April that it had attempted but failed to find a buyer for VY. Steve Costello from Central Vermont Public Service said his utility is in no rush to sign longterm contracts, given CVPS’ strong position at the moment and the buyer’s market which now exists in the New England power system.Powell said that this deal with Seabrook does not preclude any future power purchase agreement with the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon, should VY successfully work its way through various legal and regulatory issues. Powell said that this deal with Seabrook does not preclude any future power purchase agreement with the Entergy Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon, should VY successfully work its way through various legal and regulatory issues.She said that this Seabrook deal, in conjunction with last year’s Hydro-Quebec agreement, fills GMP’s long-term baseload needs. She calls them “anchor tenants.” She said there is strategic room in the Colchester-based utility’s portfolio to look at different power purchase options as they may come along. She said that GMP is committed to maintaining a diverse portfolio.Pictured: Mary Powell with NEXTera Energy Chairman and CEO Lewis Hay III. Below, Powell chats with reporters before the press conference.Not including nuclear or Hydro-Quebec, Powell said the GMP renewable energy portfolio will account for 20 percent of the utility’s power by 2013. If Hydro-Quebec is included, that number goes up to 60 percent, she said.The announcement was made at Dynapower in South Burlington, whom Powell described as an important customer for GMP. Other important customers were also present.Janet Bombardier, the senior location executive at IBM Burlington, said that IBM is looking for quality, reliable, cost-effective power. She told Vermont Business Magazine that IBM’s concern with the uncertainty involving Vermont Yankee included the price. The current VY cost is about 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour.‘This helps keep those rates stable,’ she said.Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, based in Waterbury, is the fastest growing company in Vermont among the state’s 25 largest, according to VBM (January 2011). Its five-year growth rate is over 700 percent. Its 10 year growth rate is over 1,500 percent.As with IBM, it operates sophisticated machinery that require a large amount of reliable power.Paul Comey, GMCR’s VP for Environmental Affairs said his firm, as with GMP, is committed to renewable power and regularly buys offsets from around the country to achieve carbon neutrality.Betsy Bishop, president of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce said, ‘I think this is a good day for the business community.’She said all electric customers in Vermont want low-cost, reliable, baseload power.Powell said in a statement: “This agreement is very favorable for our customers, and delivers on the vision Green Mountain Power launched three years ago to move to a cleaner, greener future in a cost effective way. We set out to accomplish this by ramping up cost effective renewables while we built a solid portfolio that is low in carbon, cost and is incredibly reliable. This provides the perfect platform for our continued efforts to pursue cost effective renewable energy options.””With this agreement, along with the recently approved Hydro Quebec contract and plans to build Kingdom Community Wind in Lowell, Green Mountain Power has delivered on the major components of its vision to provide reliable, low cost and low carbon resources,” Powell added.Located in southern New Hampshire, the 1,245-megawatt Seabrook nuclear power plant has been in operation since 1990. NextEra Energy Resources is the majority owner and operator of the plant.NextEra Energy Resources has more than 100 power generating facilities in 26 states and Canada.The Florida-based company is the leading US producer of wind power, and its solar array in California’s Mojave Desert is currently the largest in the United States. Green Mountain Power and NextEra Energy Resources hope to continue to collaborate on future renewable energy projects in Vermont as Green Mountain ramps down its portfolio dependence on Seabrook.Mitch Davidson, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources, said in a statement, “We anticipate that this is the first step in a long-term partnership with Green Mountain Power and the people of Vermont. We look forward to discussing new opportunities to partner with Vermont utilities, in particular in regards to promoting and developing renewable energy.”Beginning in 2015, GMP will take 60 megawatts of Seabrook power ramping down to 40 megawatts by the end of the contract, representing approximately 20 percent of its total overall energy mix. An additional 25 megawatts of power will be made available to other Vermont utilities on the same favorable terms. The agreement was reached after several months of negotiations, and must be approved by Vermont’s Public Service Board before taking effect.GMP will also purchase 15 megawatts of energy from NextEra Energy Resources for 2012-2014, a period during which GMP has been periodically replacing its expiring power supply contracts.Liz Miller, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service, said, “GMP has struck a deal for a price that looks good for its own customers and for the customers of other Vermont utilities that decide to participate. Keeping costs down for Vermonters is great for the state’s economic development.” About Green Mountain PowerGreen Mountain Power ( is external)) transmits, distributes and sells electricity in the State of Vermont. It serves more than 175,000 people and businesses.About NextEra Energy ResourcesNextEra Energy Resources, LLC is a clean energy leader and one of the largest competitive energy suppliers in North America. A subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), NextEra Energy Resources is the largest generator in North America of renewable energy from the wind and sun. It operates clean, emissions-free nuclear power generation facilities in New Hampshire, Iowa and Wisconsin as part of the NextEra Energy nuclear fleet, which is the third largest in the United States. NextEra Energy had 2010 revenues of more than $15 billion, nearly 43,000 megawatts of generating capacity, and approximately 15,000 employees in 28 states and Canada. is external).last_img read more

Islamic State, a Fundamentalist Threat to the West

first_imgBy Dr. Hugo Harvey, Strategic Studies Institute, Chilean Army War College July 22, 2016 ISIS. Everyone knows the word. Saying it is enough to bring an image of death, decapitations, and limitless atrocities. Nevertheless, there are still a large number of questions regarding the origin, potential ways in which to control excesses, and what it means, in other words, its presence to the world in general and for the West in particular. ISIS, or the Islamic State is not just a terrorist group. It is not a state, as its name would like to convince you. It is a political and military organization that supports a radical interpretation of Islam as a political philosophy, with the intent of imposing that vision of the world by force to Muslims and non Muslims alike. Expelled from al-Qaeda for being too extreme, ISIS says it is the legitimate guide for all Sunni Muslims in the entire world. They have established what they believe is a state that includes large portions of land in Syria and Iraq and is governed from Raqqa in Syria. The group has had many names. It began as a group called Jamaat al-Tawhid wa-i-Jihad (JTWJ), founded in 1999 by Abu Musa al-Zarqawi. The name lasted until 2004, when it changed to al-Qaeda in the Land of Two Rivers (better known as al-Qaeda in Iraq, or AQI). In 2006 it began calling itself Majlis Shura al-Mujahedin (Mujahideen Shura Council, or MSC), and until 2013, it called itself Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). It finally settled on the terror-inducing name we all know, Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), where “al-Sham” refers to the “Great Syria”. That is, it includes Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. Daesh is the Arab acronym of its full name: al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham. French President François Hollande, together with U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, refer to the group by this name, which has several explanations. First of all, to delegitimize the group and abstain from associating the group with a “state” as they hope to do, by confusing people. Secondly, they use it to avoid associating it to Islam, which seems to be one of the goals of the attacks in Paris: Invite repression against Muslims to begin a spiral or escalation of violence. Most importantly, Daesh also has a negative connotation. In fact, depending on its Arab conjugation, it may mean “step over, or flatten with your feet”, or “intolerant”, something ISIS rejects and has banned people from using to refer to them. Since May 2010, the leader has been Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but until 2014, his only known photo is from a police report resulting from time spent captured by the United States in Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5th, 2015, he appeared at the pulpit of the al-Nuri Grand Mosque, in Mosul, where he gave a sermon during Ramadan as the first calif in generations. That is how, in a short time, he went from a sought-after guerrilla member to self proclaiming himself as “commander” of all Muslims. Yet, it would be a mistake to affirm that Islam is a religion that promotes hate and death. No religion does. Some Muslims have wrongly interpreted a message delivered in the context of over 1,400 years ago. For example, slavery existed at the time of Mohammed, but Qur’an limits it and grants certain rights to slaves, it allows them to buy their own freedom, and exhorts their owners to free them. Something similar happens in the Bible in Ephesians 6:5-9, when he refers to the responsibilities of the slaves and their owners. But nowadays, when slavery is illegal, those words are irrelevant. That is the trouble with Daesh, interpreting everything literally. They don’t understand that in 14 centuries, social and historical circumstances have changed, and some of what the Prophet said was appropriate for the context in which he lived.last_img read more