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 51 
 on: Jun 23, 2016, 10:13 AM 
Started by Gonzalo - Last post by Gonzalo
Hola a todos,

Hablaremos en este tópico sobre el arquetipo de la Luna y sus distintas dimensiones. Como dijimos antes, la Luna se correlaciona con el tipo de ego o personalidad que el Alma necesita crear en cada vida. Ello es necesario a fin de que el Alma pueda tener una autoimagen, una imagen de sí, que le permita diferenciarse y atribuirse a sí la experiencia en curso.

De nuevo, la mayor parte del Alma – Plutón – es totalmente subconsciente para la mayoría de las personas, en tanto que la parte de la psique que es consciente para cada persona, el ego o personalidad, es sólo aquella parte del Alma que en cada caso resulta familiar y conocida para esa persona. Debido a que esa parte del Alma resulta familiar y conocida, representa seguridad emocional y psicológica para la persona debido a que esas son las formas en que la persona está acostumbrada a verse a sí misma. Verse a sí misma de una forma distinta, de una forma que amenace la consistencia de la autoimagen o ego, representa por el contrario, la posibilidad de inseguridad emocional y psicológica. Hay que tener presente que para la mayoría de las personas, la seguridad emocional es función de la auto-consistencia, es decir, de seguir viéndose a sí mismas de las formas en que están acostumbradas. La discontinuidad de ser implícita en dejar de reconocerse en las formas habituales, en el ya no ser como se ha sido o creído ser, pone en tela de juicio por así decirlo, la sensación de ser, y esa es la razón principal por la cual el cambio puede ser difícil.

La AE plantea, de acuerdo con las Leyes Naturales, que el ego es necesario por la función de integración que representa. Sin el ego, no podríamos ni siquiera decir nuestro propio nombre. No podríamos decir ‘esto lo hice yo’ o ‘esto no lo hice yo’. Hay sistemas espirituales que postulan la necesidad de desprenderse del ego. Eso simplemente no es posible.

A nivel anatómico, la energía que constituye del ego emana de un vórtice de energía/actividad que está situado a nivel del tronco cerebral, entre la medulla, la hipófisis y el hipotálamo. Es allí precisamente que se manifiesta primariamente el fenómeno de la conciencia individual, a nivel del Alma, y también a nivel del ego.  Esa energía emana, a nivel del sistema de chakras inherente del cuerpo astral, del chakra medulla, el cual se proyecta en Ajna.

Entonces, si no se trata de desprenderse del ego, entonces de qué se trata en términos de la evolución y dentro de esto, de la espiritualización de la conciencia? Se trata de que el ego se alinee progresivamente con el Alma, de manera que progresivamente cada Alma cree una autoimagen y un ego que sean más abarcativos respecto a su propia realidad interior. Esto requiere por supuesto de muchas vidas, debido a que en la medida que la conciencia individual deviene consciente de más dimensiones, contenidos o estados interiores, esos contenidos, estados, etc., requieren de elaboración consciente, de manera de poder ser integrados en la autoimagen/ego.

Existe a la vez el riesgo, cada vez, de que las nuevas formas de verse a sí mismo, resultantes de la evolución de cada cual, se constituyan a su vez en una fuente de seguridad emocional o psicológica, y generen apego y resistencia al cambio.

Por supuesto, los niveles de resistencia al cambio o la evolución a nivel de la estructura de personalidad son relativos a cada caso, yendo desde lo que sería una orientación a cooperar con el intento evolutivo en curso, a una resistencia al cambio que puede ser prácticamente absoluta  a veces. En cada caso, el grado de resistencia al cambio a este nivel estará reflejado en la carta natal en total, y específicamente, en el arquetipo de la Luna. Por poner un simple ejemplo, la Luna situada en un Signo mutable puede ser naturalmente adaptable y capaz de cambiar. Si la Luna está en un Signo fijo, entonces existirá mayor resistencia a cambiar. Cada caso debe, sin embargo, se analizado en detalle, comenzando por Plutón, los Nodos, sus regentes, etc., como dijimos al comienzo y como desarrollaremos más delante de forma detallada.

Como astrólogos, siempre debemos evaluar el nivel de resistencia al cambio, la resistencia del ego, y la fuerza y la flexibilidad del ego, del cliente. Esto es necesario para saber de qué forma puede impactar en el cliente la información que les entreguemos basada en la carta natal.  

De dónde viene en último término la resistencia a cambiar, y la rigidez y resistencia del ego? La resistencia del ego y la dificultad emocional para abrazar la necesidad de cambio a nivel de la personalidad proviene en último término de la naturaleza dual de deseos del Alma. Plutón, el Alma, está definido interiormente por una dualidad de deseos. La naturaleza dual de deseos del Alma-Plutón, significa simplemente que el Alma naturalmente, a lo largo de su proceso evolutivo, genera deseos de todo tipo. Esos tipos de deseos externalizan la conciencia, la llevan hacia afuera para investir o cargar objetos externos de todo tipo: posesiones materiales, relaciones, estatus social, etc. Al mismo tiempo, existe en el Alma el deseo de la conciencia de encontrar su propia fuente interior, su propio origen dentro de sí misma. A lo largo del viaje evolutivo, a través de muchas muchas vidas, el Alma experimenta grados relativos de satisfacción al conseguir los objetos que persigue. Por ejemplo, un mejor trabajo, un nuevo amante, etc. Sin embargo, esa satisfacción no es total, permanente, o absoluta, sino sólo parcial, transitoria o efímera, y relativa. Cuando la conciencia obtiene sus objetos y experimenta esa satisfacción/insatisfacción relativas, en cierto punto deja ir esos deseos-ya nos desea- y comienza a desear algo más. Tal como un niño cuando quiere un juguete nuevo, y después cuando lo tiene, tras unos pocos días, comienza a desear otro. De la misma forma, cada vez que queremos algo, nos parece que ese algo realmente hará una diferencia, realmente nos dará satisfacción. Y sin embargo, como todos sabemos, esa satisfacción es muy limitada.

Así, a través de dejar ir sus objetos de deseo debido a la satisfacción relativa que estos entregan, en cierto punto comienza a dominar en la conciencia el único deseo que es de naturaleza distinta: el deseo de retornar a la Fuente, que es el único deseo que puede conducir a una satisfacción completa, absoluta, y permanente.
La naturaleza dual de deseos del Alma es intrínseca al arquetipo de Plutón. Existe en el Zodiaco natural una inconjunción natural entre Escorpio y Aries, y a la vez Aries está en cuadratura natural con Cáncer. Estos símbolos se correlacionan con la crisis-inconjunción- de la encarnación, y como el hecho de encarnarse y nacer pueden gatillar inseguridad emocional. Esto se llama en términos psicológicos ‘angustia de separación del vientre de la madre’. Aries se correlaciona como arquetipo con los deseos de separación conscientes que son causa de la presente encarnación. Aries se correlaciona a su vez con el sentimiento de ser especial, de tener algo especial que descubrir, el sentido de un destino extraordinario o fuera de lo común. La cuadratura inherente entre Aries y Cáncer en el Zodiaco se correlaciona a este nivel con la manera en que la crisis de la encarnación o el nacimiento, como experiencia de separación, puede gatillar inseguridad emocional que luego intensifique, como una defensa, el sentimiento de separación, o de ser totalmente especial y distinto de manera de no poder ver o sentir las conexiones naturales que existen con los demás. Esto ocurre así, y da lugar a la creación de egos más ‘separados’ que lo que es natural, debido a las dinámicas patriarcales – Capricornio – que crean inseguridad emocional durante el desarrollo temprano de los niños porque no son capaces de satisfacer las necesidades emocionales naturales que ellos tienen. En contextos naturales, matriarcales, los niños desarrollaban naturalmente personalidades/egos sanos y flexibles, y si bien cada persona tenía una auto-imagen individual, nadie se veía a sí mismo como alguien tan distinto o separado de todos y todo lo demás. En tiempos patriarcales, en cambio, existen egos que literalmente se creen dioses o diosas, y esta, de nuevo, es esencialmente, en primer lugar, una respuesta a la inseguridad y la angustia de separación.  

A través de observar estos arquetipos en cualquier carta natal – la Luna, Marte, Escorpio, Capricornio - podemos evaluar la intensidad de los deseos de separación, los niveles de inseguridad emocional en el entorno de desarrollo temprano, y su impacto en el tipo de estructura de ego que el Alma ha creado para su vida presente, y por qué.

Si alguien tiene preguntas o comentarios sobre esto, por favor, adelante.  

Bendiciones, Gonzalo

www.gonzaloromero.org

 52 
 on: Jun 23, 2016, 06:23 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad

U.S. Elections

Trump Bombs With An Unintentionally Hilarious Attack Speech On Hillary Clinton

By Jason Easley on Wed, Jun 22nd, 2016 at 11:28 am
PoliticusUSA

Donald Trump tried to attack Hillary Clinton with “major speech,” but his speech was a bungled unintentionally hilarious attempt at running for the White House that was based on right wing conspiracy theories and lies. On top of it all, Trump sounded sedated and completely clueless in what played like a bad SNL sketch that ran too long.

Trump said that only he could fix America’s problems. He blamed Clinton for creating the nation’s problems and rigging the political system. Trump then asked Bernie Sanders voters to join “his movement” so that the system can be fixed. Trump said that Clinton is a world class liar. He pointed to her email server, and her claim that she was under attack in Bosnia.

Trump repeated his lies that he started off with a “small loan” and built a business that is worth $10 billion. The “loan” was a $200 million inheritance, and Trump has greatly overinflated his net worth.

Donald Trump vowed to end the special interest monopoly in DC. He repeated his claim that Hillary Clinton ran the State Department like her pwn personal hedge fund. Trump said that Clinton made $21 million giving speeches to Wall Street, and said that Wall Street totally owns Clinton and that will never ever change.

The Republican nominee painted himself as the candidate who is against the special interests and claimed that Clinton lacks the temperament to be president.

The most laugh out loud moment of the speech was when Trump claimed that Clinton thinks the campaign is all about her when he knows that it is all about you. Trump railed about globalism and went on to compare himself to George Washington. He claimed that Hillary Clinton was to blame for all trade policies.

Trump went on to quote from the conspiracy book “Clinton Cash,” which the author even admitted contains no evidence of Clinton crimes. Trump went full blown conspiracy theorist by claiming that there was a conspiracy behind Clinton’s emails.

Donald Trump blamed Clinton for Benghazi and then floated the widely debunked Benghazi conspiracy theory. Trump blamed Clinton, not Bush’s Iraq war, for destabilizing the Middle East.

The Trump campaign seems to believe that by placing Trump behind a teleprompter and having him speak more softly equals presidential. The speech itself was a total bomb. Trump rehashed the same conspiracy theories that the Republican Party has been tossing around for decades. Donald Trump’s speech was like watching your parent who gets all their information from Fox News giving a speech about the presidential campaign.

At various points, Trump claimed that Clinton is unqualified, a criminal, corrupt, and belongs in prison.

The negative attacks that many Democrats were worried Trump would unleash on Clinton have not materialized because Donald Trump is totally incompetent as a presidential candidate. His speech revealed everything that is wrong with the Trump campaign. Trump took every character flaw that has been mentioned about him and applied to Hillary Clinton. Trump’s speech was a childish attempt at retaliation.

Donald Trump refuses to release his tax returns, but he called Hillary Clinton the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States. The “facts” for Trump’s speech came from right-wing Clinton conspiracy books.

The premise behind the speech that Trump is a change agent who is fighting for the American people was laughable, because of the existence of four decades of evidence that Donald Trump is only interested in himself.

The speech was pathetic, and if this is the best that Donald Trump can do, Republicans have no chance of winning the White House in November.

***************

Oklahoma Republican Calls For “Final Solution” To Muslims Because “Islam Is Not a Religion”

By Rmuse on Wed, Jun 22nd, 2016 at 9:57 am
PoliticusUSA

*The following is an opinion column by R Muse *

Anyone who follows politics and is even remotely aware of 20th Century history would be loath to disagree that there is a definite American movement that seems Hell-bent on repeating the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany. Of course, the movement is firmly ensconced in the conservative movement with willing participation by the religious right that is as close in proximity to the leanings of Adolf Hitler as neo-conservatives in the Republican Party. It seems there is no demographic in America that is safe from conservatives whether they are the poor, people of color, women, the LGBT community and particularly non-Christians. In fact, over the course of the past ten years no group has absorbed more hatred and vitriol than Muslim adherents and that was long before Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump came on the scene.

No matter how harsh and hateful Donald Trump has been in portraying Muslims as the epitome of evil, he has not called for a “final solution” to rid the world of a billion or so adherents to one of the world’s three Abrahamic religions. As if Trump’s hateful rhetoric against Muslims was inadequate to express some Americans bigotry, ignorance and sheer hate, an Oklahoma Republican has come up with “the final solution” to Islam that entails the Nazi-like “final solution” to the existence of Jews.

The Republican monster, some hate-monger from Oklahoma by the name of Pat Ownbey, is a state representative from Ardmore and he came up with a final solution  to deal with Muslims that would give even Donald Trump reason to pause. Ownbey posted on Facebook and promoted an article over the weekend calling for a “final solution” regarding “radical Islam.” The article proffered an incredibly lame argument that “the 1,400-year-old Islamic faith is not a religion” and therefore its adherents or the religion is not afforded any protections under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

According to Think Progress, Ownbey “re-published an article entitled “Radical Islam – The Final Solution.” Apparently Ownbey copy-and-pasted the original article published by Paul R. Hollrah, a fellow Oklahoman claiming to be a former government relations executive, whatever that means.

Think Progress implied that the author was not aware that “final solution” was the Nazi term for what the rest of the world knows as “the Holocaust,” but that is as absurd an assumption as saying that Republicans are unaware that easy access to battlefield assault weapons contributes to the massacres of innocent Americans on a regular basis. However, kudos to Think Progress for not presuming the worst where religious bigotry and ignorance is concerned.  This author is not so restrained by such comity, especially not where religious bigotry is concerned.

According to Ownbey’s re-published article, since an anti-LGBT man who was also a Muslim slaughtered 49 people at a gay nightclub, Islam can no longer be categorized as a religion in America or the rest of the  Western world for that matter. The article states:

“…if we in the west are to protect our children and grandchildren from the horrors of a worldwide Islamic caliphate, we must first dispense with the cruel fiction that Islam is just another religious denomination, subject to all of the legal protections afforded legitimate religious sects. Islam is not a religion, subject to First Amendment protections.”

The article’s original author also contends that Donald Trump’s opposition to allowing Muslims to emigrate to America falls well short of the ‘final solution’ and took the low road by assailing Christian denominations such as the Catholic Church for welcoming Muslims; he said Catholics and Christians are monumentally naïve; likely for following Jesus Christ’s commandments . In fact, the author also said that Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims is no different than the Communist Control Act (1954) and insisted that it was time for the West to quarantine all Muslims away from civilization. It is noteworthy that just citing the word “Muslim” is admitting that Islam is a religion, but that’s an insignificant detail to the purveyors of religiously-driven hate.

As nasty as Ownbey is for promoting a hate-inspired religious screed as a “final solution,” there was a glimmer of a damn good idea that he or the original author never set upon. This author is not so inclined.

According to Ownbey’s re-published article,

“Since the 95% of Muslims who are described as either ‘moderate’ or ‘un-radicalized’ appear unwilling to play an active role in keeping their radicalized brethren in check, we have no long term alternative but to quarantine them… prohibiting them from residing anywhere within the civilized nations of the Earth.”

Now, on its face that does sound a tad harsh to most people, quarantining all Muslims from living in any civilized nation because they cannot “keep their radicalized brethren in check.” However, if being unwilling, or unable, to keep the radical fundamentalists in check is the standard for quarantining a particular faith’s entire population, then America should begin rounding up and quarantining every Christian in America and send them away from civilization to the most remote, deepest and darkest part of Africa.

Throughout recorded history “un-radicalized” Christians have shown themselves to be “unwilling to play an active role in keeping their radicalized brethren in check” whether it was during the Crusades, Europeans invading America, Brits colonizing Australia, Hitler in Nazi Germany, George W. Bush’s “crusade” in Iraq, or the anti-everyone evangelical sect decimating freedoms and equality in 21st Century America.

What is stunning really is the insinuation that Islam is not a religion but simply a political ideology. This is sheer ignorance and little else. Obviously the malcontent that penned the original article has no comprehension that Islam is, like Christianity and Judaism, an Abrahamic religion founded on the deity of the Old and New Testament and reveres the likes of Adam, Noah, King David, Moses, Solomon, the prophets and Jesus Christ on the same level as the Prophet Mohammed. The fact that some Islamic adherents are violent is no different than the lot of American Christians who believe war is good, killing innocent civilians is ‘godly’ and actively reject Jesus Christ’s commandment to “love thy neighbor.”

It is unclear exactly who in America bestowed authority on a couple of Oklahoma Republicans to decide what is, and what is not, a “real” religion. The Founding Fathers certainly made no distinction in writing the First Amendment. They did, however, state by unanimous consent that not only was America “not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,” but that this country was not at war and bore no enmity towards the Islamic religion.

If Americans who want all Muslims banned from America, or quarantined away from Western civilization, or held accountable for the actions of a few maniacs with a Hitler-esque “final solution” had an ounce of humanity, they would insist on banning all religious maniacs from the country. Now that is a final solution no small number of Americans would support enthusiastically – except for that pesky First Amendment that grants freedom of religion to all Americans including Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Heathens and even those hateful, bigoted, and inherently violent evangelical fundamentalists.

*****************

Trump Accepts Endorsement of Man Who Advocates Killing Abortion Providers

By Hrafnkell Haraldsson on Thu, Jun 23rd, 2016 at 7:55 am
PoliticusUSA

Adolf Hitler wrote, and Donald Trump seems to have taken to heart, that, “The psyche of the great masses is not receptive to anything that is half-hearted and weak…The masses love a commander more than a petitioner.” That is Donald Trump to a tee. Clearly, he has imbibed more than Hitler’s speeches.

If the masses are receptive, those who ought to condemn Trump’s message of hate all too often remain silent instead, or even offer tacit support. Religious leaders remain silent or cheer lead Trump on, and the mainstream media asks him softball questions and fails to challenge his obvious lies. And his associations with hate group leaders who advocate violence against gays, Muslims, and others.

The other day, Trump met with Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman. Newman previously supported Cruz as a co-chair of “Pro-Lifers for Cruz,” and now he has thrown his support behind Trump. Newman says the federal government has a responsibility to execute abortion providers.

You will look in vain for mainstream media coverage of this meeting, let alone its denunciation, though Dana Milbank did pen an op-ed for The Washington Post last year and detailed “the often-violent imagery used by conservative leaders on abortion is unwittingly giving the unhinged some perverse sense of justification to contemplate the unspeakable,” and named Newman among the unhinged.

We need more of this. Not less.

Back when Newman was with Cruz, NARAL, PFAW and Planned Parenthood sent an open letter to the Cruz campaign, demanding Cruz fire Newman:

    Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, has written that the U.S. government has a responsibility to execute abortion providers. He has said that a woman who has sought an abortion should be considered a “murderer” and a “contract killer.” Newman has claimed that a man who killed an abortion provider should have been allowed to argue that the killing was “justifiable defensive action.” Newman and his staff have harassed individual women’s clinic workers at their homes, at restaurants and coffee shops, and throughout their communities in an attempt to make them quit their jobs. Newman’s closest associate at Operation Rescue, Cheryl Sullenger, has spent time in federal prison for conspiracy to bomb an abortion clinic.

Newman’s harassment of abortion providers got him deported from Australia. Here in the U.S., as MMFA pointed out, in May of this year, “PBS invited Newman to appear in a post-screening discussion” of an anti-gun-violence documentary, all without revealing “his long history of harassment.”

This is all the more shocking when you consider Newman’s complete unreliability as a source of information. MMFA reminds us:

    Newman previously served as a board member for the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the organization responsible for propagating a smear campaign against Planned Parenthood so fraudulent that CMP earned the title of Media Matters’ 2015 Misinformer of the Year. CMP’s deceptively edited videos purporting to show the illegal sale of fetal tissue have been repeatedly discredited, while numerous state investigations have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing.

A violent liar. Like Michele Bachmann, Newman is almost tailor made to fit Trump’s campaign.

As PFAW Executive Vice President Marge Baker said in a statement:

    Even for someone as extreme and dangerous as Donald Trump, meeting with someone with Troy Newman’s record is shocking. Just as Donald Trump has called for women to face punishment if they have an abortion, Newman has called women who have an abortion ‘contract killers’ and ‘murderers.’ And his record doesn’t stop there: Newman has actively called for government to execute abortion providers. That kind of rhetoric, even in this heated political environment, should be completely unacceptable.
     
    No one who aspires to the White House should go anywhere near someone like Troy Newman. Trump’s utter disrespect for women and disregard for their rights should deeply concern us all.

As Faithful America’s Executive Director, Michael Sherrard, said yesterday in a statement, “hundreds of right-wing evangelical leaders took part in a Donald Trump campaign rally organized by Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson. Church leaders should be taking on Trump – not cheering him on.”

Nor, as he pointed out, were they alone:

    Just last week, both the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention gathered for their annual meetings. Both groups continued their bogus campaigns against the Obama administration, but neither took any action to condemn Trump’s racist rhetoric and proposals.

This silence is particularly disgusting when it comes to Trump’s embrace of Troy Newman, who says the government has a duty to execute abortion providers. A presumptive nominee for president should not be meeting with proponents who advocate what is nothing more than judicial murder. That is another area in which Donald Trump stands all too close to Adolf Hitler.

 53 
 on: Jun 23, 2016, 06:10 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
The case of Saba Qaiser and the film-maker determined to put an end to 'honour' killings

In 2014, Saba Qaiser was shot in the head by her father and dumped in a river. She survived. Now Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy wants her Oscar-nominated film about Saba to expose the shameful crime Pakistan has ignored for too long

Alex Clark
AFP
6/23/2016   

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy is a documentary film-maker whose 2012 film about acid violence, Saving Face, made her the first Pakistani to win an Academy Award. This year, she is nominated again for A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, which tells the story of 19-year-old Saba Qaiser, from the Pakistani province of Punjab, whose father and uncle shot her in the face and threw her in a river because she had married without her family’s consent. Because she had tilted her head at the last minute, Saba survived the shooting and managed to get to a petrol station for help. But although her father and uncle were subsequently arrested, Saba came under pressure to forgive them, which under Pakistani law means they would escape further punishment.

How did you come across Saba’s case?

I wanted to tell a story about “honour” killings, from the perspective of somebody who had survived, because almost always victims of “honour” crime die, and it’s very hard then to tell the story, because you never have the perspective of that person and what they went through. So I was searching for a survivor, and one day I read in the newspaper that a girl had been shot and put in a gunny bag and thrown in a river, and survived, and was in a hospital. So I went off to try and find that hospital.

    Saba had this defiant will about her, even on day one. And she just took to filming, as if she was born for the camera

And obviously you did…

Yes, I found her in hospital – it must have been about two days after she had been shot. We got permission from the hospital, and we spent a lot of time speaking to her; you know, she was very open to telling her story because she believed very strongly that she didn’t want anyone else to go through what she had.

She must have been in a great deal of pain, and shock?

She was. She had this extraordinary kind of will though – this defiant will about her, even on day one. And she just took to filming matter-of-factly, as if she was born for the camera. But she never did anything extra for the camera, she was who she was; and you see that as the film progresses, you see her demeanour, the way she reacts, the way she laughs – it’s all very natural.

She was also facing the immensely painful reality of her own family having tried to kill her, and now ostracising her. How common is that situation?

It is a pretty common narrative, because about a thousand women are killed in “honour” crimes in Pakistan every year; and we think the number is much higher because many cases go unreported. The problem with “honour” killing is that it’s considered in the domain of the home. People hush it up: a father kills a daughter, and nobody ever responds, nobody ever files a case. The victim remains nameless and faceless, and we never hear about them. People feel, “if we register a case, it will bring shame to the family”. So this [film] is a way for us to bring it out in the open, to have a national discourse about it, for us to say this is a crime, it has nothing to do with honour; it’s premeditated, cold-blooded murder.

What has the reaction in Pakistan been like?

One of the most encouraging things was that the prime minister made a statement after the [Academy Award] nomination. He said that he would look into this matter and he would work on “honour” killings and he wanted to hold the first screening at his residence. Now, that is a very brave statement to make, it’s also a very forward-thinking statement. And we are now waiting to hear back from the government about a date to hold the first screening; we are hopeful that he will follow through on his statement.

And your view is that a change in law is the fundamental aim?

The thing about “honour” crimes is that there are people who don’t think that it is a crime because people don’t go to jail for it. If you have entire towns and villages where people know of people who have killed their daughters or their wives or their sisters and never been to jail, you will think it is not a crime. As long as people don’t think it’s a crime, they will continue to kill women. The minute people start going to jail, it will act as a deterrent. People will know that there are serious repercussions and that it is a heinous crime. We have to take that first step of sending people to jail.

    Pakistan is changing rapidly. How long will people be able to hold women back? I see cracks in traditional society

One of the most disturbing aspects of A Girl in the River is the way Saba’s father believes that his actions have served as a warning to his other daughters, and that his standing in the community will improve.
As you see at the end of the film, he feels more empowered, that he has done something right, and that people in the community grant him more respect, and he says that his other daughters are getting very good proposals [of marriage.] This is exactly what happens: this grandstanding that takes place, people become huge in their community, they aren’t looked on as criminals. So of course if he had gone to jail, the narrative would have been very different.

It’s also extraordinary to see how the female members of Saba’s family backed her father up.
Well, you know, they’ve been brainwashed to believe that this is something that would elicit this kind of response. His sister was the most shocking for me: she said, well, what she did expect? She ran away. She got married out of her choice. This was bound to happen.

Your work puts Pakistani society under the microscope – but how much do you think it is changing?
Pakistan is changing rapidly. Sixty per cent of the population is under the age of 25, you have a high use of cellphones, of the internet. How long will people be able to hold women back? More women are going to college and schools, and I see cracks in traditional society. More and more women know their rights because of how interconnected they are; they’re no longer isolated. Even in the remotest of villages you have cellphones now, and of course this is going to shake the status quo in a patriarchal society… Women now want a greater say, they want greater economic independence, they want a greater say in the kind of marriages they make, the kind of education they get, where they work. You find this more often more in second-tier cities and in major cities, but the time is not far off when it’s going to seep down to other places as well.Even if a woman is not educated, she is learning on the cellphone how to send messages; the cellphone is transforming Pakistan.

How much do you see your role as enabling and pushing for change as well as simply documenting what you see around you?

I like to talk about the things that people don’t like to talk about. I like to have the difficult conversations. I want people to feel uncomfortable about issues. While society is changing rapidly, there are all of these issues that we’re not addressing. We think that by hiding them, they will go away. My documentation is not only of the issues, but also of the people who are fighting them, the heroes you don’t know, the nameless people who are risking their lives every day.

Have you encountered resistance?

The biggest criticism that I get is: “Why are you showcasing stories that make Pakistan look bad?” And my response to that is: “Why are you shooting the messenger? Why don’t you fix the problem?”

How many film-makers in Pakistan are making films about acid violence, about “honour” killings, about child marriage, about rape? Very few. I live in Pakistan, I want it to become a better country than it is, and I think that by having these discussions, by bringing these films out, we as a country are forced to acknowledge them.

Did you always know you wanted to tell these stories through film?

I was actually a print journalist – I started writing for newspapers when I was 14 years old. And I was writing in newspapers all through my teenage years, and then when I went off to college in America, I was writing for newspapers over there. Then 9/11 happened, and I wanted to move from print, which I thought was limiting me, because it was one-dimensional, to something that was visual. I didn’t even know what a documentary film was – I was 21 years old, I’d barely ever seen one. Don’t forget I grew up in Pakistan when there was only one television channel, and when I went to America, mostly I watched popular culture, I didn’t watch documentaries. But then I did a lot of research – did I want to go into news, or did I want to go into something that was long form? And that’s when I stumbled upon documentaries. I’m a self-start person… everything I know I’ve learnt off the internet.

    Being a woman has been an asset for me. I don’t think I’d be able to tell the kind of stories that I do if I was a man

You’ve made many films, in many different places and circumstances – about Pakistan’s transgender community, about Bangladeshi female peacekeepers deployed to Haiti, about child terrorists. How much has being a female film-maker affected issues such as access, or how people react to you?
I think that I’ve been fortunate to be a female film-maker. It allows me greater access, greater sensitivity in some cases to some of the subjects. I can go into places that men cannot as easily. Being a woman has really been an asset for me, and I don’t think I’d be able to tell the kind of stories that I do if I was a man.

This Academy Award nomination comes in a year when diversity is a huge issue, with some actors and directors planning to boycott the awards. What’s your feeling about that?

I think that the Academy is a reflection of Hollywood. I think that you cannot blame the academy, you have to begin making changes in Hollywood first, and see how many films come out with diverse characters in them, with diverse scripts. It’s only when you bring diversity into Hollywood that you can bring diversity into the Academy Awards. Having said that, if you look very closely this year, there are a number of film-makers from around the world, outside of the foreign-language categories.

As a documentary film-maker, when I’m looking at diversity, I’m not looking at the actors and actresses, I’m looking at my field – and in my field, there is diversity this year. In my category, there’s a film from Pakistan, a film about the Holocaust, a film about Vietnam, one about Ebola and Africa – the diversity’s immense, just in the subjects that are being tackled.

What’s happening in the documentary world? There are great practitioners, but is it sometimes a struggle to get films made?

Yes. But the good thing about documentary films is that you have some major players coming in. Netflix,Amazon, these will all change the way documentary film-makers tell their stories – the experimentation is enormous. In some cases, the genre is taking many more risks than it did before.

Watch a talk by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy on Pakistan’s untold stories: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-gFejYfCcw

How do you feel about your prospects on 28 February?

This is a very competitive year – there are some fantastic films out there, and some fantastic film-makers. You never know until that envelope is opened who’s going to be announced. So I am putting all my energy into getting the Pakistani government and the Pakistani prime minister to make good on his promise. To me, it will be a bigger win if we do manage to at least begin to send people to jail for “honour” killings. That’ll be a much bigger win.

And what news do you have of Saba?

Since the filming stopped, she’s had a son [with the man she chose to be with], and she’s basically hoping to educate him. A donor has come forward to give land to her, so she has land in her own name. She didn’t even have a birth certificate or an ID card, all of that has been processed. She finally has an identity of her own.

 54 
 on: Jun 23, 2016, 06:03 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Pakistan criticised for censoring article about Muslim women and sex

Journalist Mona Eltahawy says decision to ban column reveals extent of state’s desire to control bodies of Muslim women

Agence France-Press in Islamabad
June 23 2016 15.41 BST

A feminist writer has criticised Pakistan for censoring an article on Muslim women and sex, saying the ban exposed the extent of the country’s discrimination against women.

Mona Eltahawy, an award-winning Egyptian-American journalist and campaigner for women’s rights, wrote an opinion column, “Sex talk for Muslim women”, that was published by the International New York Times on Friday.

The article was available online in Pakistan, but the newspaper version, which should have been published in the opinion section of the local Express Tribune, was replaced by a blank space.

Eltahawy told AFP that the decision to ban her article was an example of how Pakistan’s authorities think a woman “who claims ownership over her body is dangerous … and must be silenced”.

A senior source at the Express Tribune told AFP, on condition of anonymity, that the newspaper “can’t afford to publish such controversial articles about Islam”.

In the piece, Eltahawy discussed her decision to have sex before marriage – in defiance of her own upbringing and Muslim faith – and detailed many conversations with other women of Muslim and Arab descent suffering under the “sexual straitjacket” of virginity imposed on them by men.

“Where are the stories on women’s sexual frustrations and experiences?” she wrote. “My revolution has been to develop from a 29-year-old virgin to the 49-year-old woman who now declares, on any platform I get: it is I who own my body. Not the state, the mosque, the street or my family. And it is my right to have sex whenever, and with whomever, I choose.”

Women have fought for decades to establish equal rights in Pakistan, where so-called honour killings and acid attacks remain commonplace.

Last week a teenage girl in the north-west of the country was strangled to death and set alight after a village council ruled she must be killed for helping a friend to elope.

Eltahawy said the censorship showed “a woman who disobeys and who openly claims sexual liberation and pleasure is dangerous and must be silenced” and cited a similar backlash faced by the Pakistani director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy after her documentary about honour killings won an Academy Award.

“So many Pakistanis attacked her for making Pakistan ‘look bad’ and not enough attacked what is actually making Pakistan look bad: men who are ready to kill women for daring to believe they have the right to consent and agency over their bodies.”

Eltahawy said she was not aware of her article being censored in any other country and defended the right of Muslim women to openly talk about sex. “Sex is happening, but shrouded in taboo and shame … As women of colour and women of faith, we need to see women who look like us. Sex positivity isn’t the domain just of white feminism.”

She said a recent trip to Lahore for a literary festival introduced her to “wonderful young feminists” who “keep my tenacious optimism intact”. “The more feminists such as the ones I met push, the greater the space they’ll create for everyone.”

 55 
 on: Jun 23, 2016, 06:01 AM 
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Amjad Sabri: Pakistani Sufi singer shot dead in Karachi

Outpouring of grief across Pakistan as famed musician Amjad Sabri is killed in Taliban gun attack on car
Amjad Sabri’s distraught brother, centre, after the killing on Wednesday.

Emma Graham-Harrison
AFP
Thursday 23 June 2016 10.00 BST   

One of Pakistan’s most famous and respected musicians, celebrated for devotional songs from a centuries-old mystic tradition, has been shot dead by Taliban gunmen in Karachi.

Amjad Sabri, 45, was shot by two men on a motorbike as he drove through a congested area of the port city on Wednesday, Allah Dino Khawaja, the regional police chief, told Reuters. A relative travelling with the musician was injured but survived.

A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Qari Saifullah Mehsud, claimed responsibility for the killing and said Sabri was targeted because the group considered his music blasphemous, local media reported.

The attack happened a day after a homeopathic doctor from the Ahmadi minority was killed in the same city, and two days after masked men seized the son of a top provincial judge, fuelling concerns about violence and extremism in Pakistan’s economic capital.

The songs Sabri performed are part of a Sufi tradition dating back to the 13th century. Known as Qawwalis, steeped in mysticism and sometimes based on mystic poetry, they are a key part of the spiritual life of millions of Muslims across south Asia and enjoyed by wider audiences of many faiths.

But both the music, and the shrines at which it is often performed, have long been a target for religious conservatives who shun all forms of music and consider the shrines unorthodox. Dozens of sites have been targeted in attacks, including a 2010 suicide bombing at one of Pakistan’s most popular shrines.

The murder of a popular singer from a famous and well-loved musical dynasty was a clear warning to others trying to celebrate and preserve Pakistan’s indigenous traditions, warned human rights activist Ali Dayan Hasan.

“These attacks have a chilling effect on the pluralism and diversity of religious practice and cultural expression in this part of the world. That is very worrying,” he said. “Whenever something like this happens, you are a step closer to being a Wahhabi-Salafist wasteland.”

Qawwalis have long been criticised by the Taliban and other hardline groups that reject all music as un-Islamic, and particularly object to those songs which focus on the life of the prophet Muhammad.

Sabri had been named in a blasphemy case brought by a conservative lawyer over a TV performance of one of his songs two years ago, a potentially serious allegation because the offence can carry the death penalty in Pakistan.

Colleagues and fans denounced the Taliban for targeting a man who devoted his life and work to religion. “Our own dear Amjad Sabri ... was a true lover of God, life and all that’s good,” said Arieb Azhar, another popular Sufi musician.

“His mission of love has tragically been cut short by those who spread hate in the world, and is a great loss for all the divided people of our country,” Azhar told AFP.

Karachi, home to 20 million people, is plagued by political, ethnic and sectarian violence. In 2013, a government sweep to clear out militants and criminal groups reduced the scale of the violence overall, but there is growing concern about targeted killings.

Last April, the activist and cultural leader Sabeen Mahmud was shot and killed. In May, Khurram Zaki, a rights activist and prominent critic of radical Islamists, was also gunned down in Karachi.

Sabri’s murder prompted an outpouring of grief across Pakistan and around the world for a man hailed as one of the best performers of Qawwalis, from prime minister Nawaz Sharif to ex-cricketer turned opposition politician Imran Khan, and a host of cultural figures.

The musician came from a dynasty of legendary performers, and was known for reworking classics popularised by his father and uncle. He regularly appeared on national television, and had been performing daily for Ramadan.

 56 
 on: Jun 23, 2016, 05:59 AM 
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Tunisia's last Jewish community dream of a move to Israel 'en masse'

In one of the last Jewish enclaves in the Arab world, families are leaving as tourism declines and security threats intensify

Daniella Cheslow in Djerba for RFE/RL
AFP
Thursday 23 June 2016 06.00 BST 

Cracked tombstones litter the cemetery behind Djerba’s Great Synagogue, but it was not vandals who broke them.

Hundreds of Jewish families have moved away from this Tunisian island community in the past five decades, digging up their relatives’ remains to take with them and leaving only the slabs of marble behind.

“There are bones that are 80, 90 years old. When you lift them up, they can break,” says Yossif Sabbagh, a 42-year-old local who helps exhume around a dozen bodies each year for transport to Israel, where the majority of Tunisian-born Jews have moved.

This flight of the dead foreshadows a bleak future for the Jews of Djerba, who trace their arrival on this North African island to more than two millennia ago, after the sacking of the First Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BC.

They were once the traditional, observant branch of a vibrant Jewish community that numbered 100,000 across Tunisia. But the 1,100 Jews in Djerba are nearly all that are left after most others fled persecution between the 40s and 60s.

Most of the community has moved to Israel, where as Jews they are entitled to automatic citizenship, but their exodus could also bring an end to one of the last Jewish societies in the Arab world.

But there is new life in Djerba, too – about 30 births a year, according to Tunisia’s chief rabbi and Djerba resident, Haim Bittan. In comparison, the community in Morocco – the only one in the Arab world that is larger than Tunisia’s – is mostly elderly. The Egyptian, Lebanese, and Syrian communities have dwindled to a few dozen, and Jews are almost gone entirely from Libya and Algeria.

In late May, crowds filled the ornate white-and-blue tiled Ghriba synagogue in Hara Sghira, the smaller of two Jewish enclaves in Djerba, as part of the annual pilgrimage that has long attracted outsiders to the island.

Pilgrims lit candles in the sanctuary and placed eggs covered with handwritten wishes in a cave dug into the synagogue’s floor. Across a cobbled street, revellers sang songs, ate couscous with fish, and drank fig brandy and beer in a sunny courtyard strung with red Tunisian flags.

    What leads to radicalism is having only one culture. Having many cultures allows us to accept one another
    Abdelfattah Mourou

The event, marking the Lag BaOmer feast which honours the second-century Jewish mystic Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, was clearly a point of local pride.

Back in 2011 the event was cancelled amid the tumult of the Tunisian revolution that ousted dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, who largely protected the country’s Jews. It was later restored and the country’s current government prizes the community as a symbol of stability. But three major terrorist attacks since the beginning of 2015, along with an infiltration by the extremist group Islamic State (Isis) just an hour’s drive south of Djerba, have raised serious security concerns.

This year’s festival took place under intense security, including checkpoints overseen by special forces and a military truck mounted with a heavy automatic weapon.

On the first day of the pilgrimage, Abdelfattah Mourou, deputy speaker of parliament and vice president of the moderate Islamic Ennahda party, embraced rabbi Bittan outside the Ghriba synagogue.

“Tunisia protects its Jews,” Mourou said. “What leads to radicalism is having only one culture. Having many cultures allows us to accept one another.”

The Israeli government was not convinced by the increased security: in the weeks before the Ghriba festival it issued a travel advisory warning its citizens to avoid Tunisia. But Perez Trabelsi, the festival’s 74-year-old president, pointed out that Israel has issued the same warning each year since the revolution.

“There’s really no danger,” he said. “We have the freedom to leave but we are not going anywhere.”
‘A different world’

Since 2011, Rabbi Bittan estimates that 30 Jews have left Djerba, and many more are considering moving to Israel, but it’s not for fear of attack from Islamic extremists, as many suggest.

For Djerba’s Jewish community, it’s about opportunity. Shiran Trabelsi, 23, teaches fourth grade in Hara Kebira, the larger of the two Jewish enclaves. She remembers visiting her grandparents in the Israeli seaside city of Ashkelon in 2006. “I was in a different world,” she says. “Over there there’s trees and everything is blossoming and green and clean. When I got back here, I felt like there’s no colour in the city.”

Trabelsi said the Jews of Djerba should move to Israel en masse – although she concedes she would not move without her parents or a husband.

Kindergarten teacher Yiska Mamou, 24, studied economics in public school but, like most Jews in Djerba, did not go on to higher education. She, too, wants to move to Israel, because after work “there’s nothing to do here but go home and clean.”

It’s a lament echoed by many young Jewish women, whose presence is key to the community’s survival but who pine for Israel’s relative openness.

Young men, too, dream of moving, but with an eye on economic security. Like many Jewish men in Djerba, Yoni Haddad is involved in the jewellery trade. The community is known for its silver filigree and elaborate, gold-plated wedding headdresses and necklaces that are popular with Muslim brides, a craft that has been handed down from generation to generation.

But in recent months Jewish and Muslim shopkeepers alike have suffered heavy losses as tourists abandon Tunisia after Isis-affiliated gunmen attacked a beach hotel in Sousse in the summer of 2015, killing 38 people, mostly British tourists.

For Yigal Palmor, spokesman of the Jewish Agency, a quasi-governmental organisation that promotes immigration to Israel, it’s this uncertainty, both economic and political, that makes moving to Israel more attractive. “There is very little future for any Jewish community in any Arab country unless things change dramatically. Even if they are tolerated, I don’t believe they have a real future there,” he says.

For now, Djerba’s Jews are grooming the next generation for a split identity. On a Thursday afternoon, Elinor Haddad, 16, mops the kitchen of her family home in preparation for the weekend. Her older brother has just returned from a sponsored trip to Israel, and Elinor wears a bracelet he bought her as a gift. She would not be making the same trip, she said, because Rabbi Bittan ruled against girls travelling alone.

To avoid assimilation into Tunisian society, Haddad’s girls-only high school teaches an Israeli curriculum. Haddad speaks fluent Hebrew along with Arabic. Israeli mores have seeped into home life as well. Friday night dinner at Haddad’s house would be the traditional Tunisian Jewish meal of couscous, but Thursday’s lunch was chicken schnitzel – a common Israeli meal imported by European Jewish immigrants.

On Thursday night, Elinor giggles with friends in the Ghriba synagogue’s anteroom while pilgrims passed by. Ordinarily, she said, she sits with friends behind closed doors. The pilgrimage is a chance to see and be seen, she said. “If I had the opportunity to move to Israel I would go,” Haddad says. “But it’s ok here too.”

At the cemetery, Sabbagh said he had also considered moving to Israel, but hesitated because of the higher cost of living. When his father died, Sabbagh and his siblings flew the body to Israel and buried him in Jerusalem. But for the older tombs, he says. “I think the bones should stay in their graves.”

 57 
 on: Jun 23, 2016, 05:57 AM 
Started by Skywalker - Last post by Rad
Hi Skywalker,

God, how cool. Thanks for posting.

God Bless, Rad

 58 
 on: Jun 23, 2016, 05:49 AM 
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Indian farmers demand action as lightning kills 93 people in two days

Storm in eastern state of Bihar kills at least 56, while 37 die in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkand and Madhya Pradesh as monsoon rains sweep country

Vidhi Doshi in Mumbai
AFP
Wednesday 22 June 2016 14.23 BST

Farmers in east India are calling for action from the government after at least 93 people died in lightning storms across the country in two days.

A storm in Bihar state killed at least 56 people and injured another 28, mostly in rural areas, and authorities said a further 37 people had died in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkand and Madhya Pradesh.

Lal Babu Usvaha, a farmer from Kanti Butiya village near the city of Muzaffarpur in Bihar, said: “Work is work. We can’t stop because of the weather. We have to keep working in the fields. But we feel scared when we see so many clouds, so much electricity in the sky.”

Usvaha said the government should help farmers working in the fields, who make up a large proportion of the thousands of Indians who die in lightning strikes every year. “We need help, but what will the government do? What has the government ever done for farmers? We have so many problems, but they don’t care.”

Saffan Kumar, another farmer, said: “We can’t stay at home and we can’t go out. We’re stuck. We are willing to do anything, if the government can help us. We’re prepared to do what they say.”

Lightning strikes are relatively common in India during the June to October monsoon, which hit the southern coast earlier this month, but this week’s toll is particularly high.

Rakesh Kumar Singh, the secretary of a Bihar farmers’ collective called Jan Nirman Kendra, said Tuesday’s storm began at about 3pm in the district of Samastipur. “I was driving, and the light in the sky was so bright that I couldn’t see anything,” he said. “But I was too scared to stop, so I kept driving. It was as though there was a war happening in the sky.”

In the village of Panchayat Chowk, a coconut tree was felled by lightning, killing a man. Another man has gone missing in the village. Singh said: “Before the rains came farmers were worried about drought. Now that it’s raining, they are working in the fields all day, and the rain can start at any time. The farmers know not to stand under trees or in open fields, so they run to the nearest shelter they can find.

“There are many more deaths all around Bihar, and the famers are very worried,” he said, adding that years of perceived government inaction meant many farmers had lost faith in it to help them.

“There are hundreds of thousands of farmers in Bihar … The government can’t do anything. Whatever has to be done, we will have to do ourselves.”

The government has announced that it will give 400,000 rupees (£4,000) to each of the lightning victims’ families to provide relief. Other relief funds may also be accessible to injured farmers, depending on the severity of their injuries.

More than 2,500 people were killed by lightning in India in 2014, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, the most recent figures available.

 59 
 on: Jun 23, 2016, 05:48 AM 
Started by Skywalker - Last post by Skywalker
Hi everyone,

Saw this posted on facebook.

Enjoy!

All the best

 60 
 on: Jun 23, 2016, 05:47 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Solar Impulse 2 completes first ever Atlantic crossing by solar plane

Solar Impulse 2 lands in Seville, four days after setting off from New York, using solar panels and batteries to finish latest leg of its round-the-world journey

Damian Carrington
AFP
Thursday 23 June 2016 06.51 BST

Solar Impulse 2 has completed the first ever crossing of the Atlantic by a solar-powered aeroplane, landing in Spain early on Thursday morning.

The four-day trip, which started in New York, was the latest leg of a round-the-world journey due to end in Abu Dhabi.

During the crossing, pilot Bertrand Piccard spotted whales breaching the waters beneath and an iceberg that had floated south from the Arctic. The purpose of the circumnavigation is to showcase the capabilities of clean, renewable energy.

“The Atlantic is the symbolic part of the flight,” said Piccard, speaking to the Guardian from the cockpit a few hours before landing. “It is symbolic because all the means of transportation have always tried to cross the Atlantic, the first steamboats, the first aeroplane, the first balloons, the first airships and, today, it is the first solar-powered aeroplane.”

“But the goal is not to change aviation, as Charles Lindbergh did, but to inspire people to use [renewable] technologies and show people they can use these technologies every day to have a better quality of life,” he said.

The Solar Impulse 2 has a 72m wingspan, wider than a Boeing 747, and carries over 17,000 solar cells. During daylight, the solar panels charge the plane’s batteries, which make up a quarter of the craft’s 2.3 tonne weight. The pilot also climbs to 29,000 feet during the day and glides down to 5,000 feet during the night, to conserve power. The plane flies at about 30mph, although it can go faster if the sun is bright.

The flights are planned carefully to ensure clear weather but crossing the Atlantic was still challenging, Piccard said, having crossed turbulent cold fronts and dodged clouds. The crossing was a personal challenge too, as Piccard flew solo, taking only short naps in the unheated and unpressurised cabin, with the single seat doubling up as a toilet.

“When I flew around the world non-stop in a balloon with Brian Jones, we were two in the capsule, there was a lot of space and it was heated, so in that sense it was easier,” he said. “It is more challenging when you are alone: you can rely on the team on the ground by satellite phone, but otherwise it is up to you. But a lot of emotions come through and it triggers more courage, so I love this flying solo.”

“Every minute is a minute of suspense, a minute of challenge, and the fact I can stay [airborne] without fuel or pollution for four days and four nights is something so new,” he said. “I have the impression I am in a science fiction story and it’s like I am already in the future. And then I look outside and I say, well it’s not the future, it’s now.”

Piccard said that while Solar Impulse 2 could fly perpetually, the endurance of the pilot is limited and he has alternated the legs of the round-the-world trip with another pilot, Andre Borschberg.

Borschberg flew the longest leg, 4,000 miles over the Pacific from Japan to Hawaii. The 118-hour leg smashed the record for the longest uninterrupted journey in aviation history.

Piccard and Borschberg, both Swiss, are seasoned adventurers. Piccard made the first non-stop balloon flight around the world in 1999, while Borschberg, a former Swiss Air Force fighter pilot, has had brushes with death involving an avalanche and a helicopter crash.

The journey has not been without difficulties. Crosswinds in China caused weeks of delays in 2015 and overheating of the batteries during the Pacific crossing, forced the plane to spend the winter inside a hangar in Hawaii. The team also overcame financial troubles in 2015 after raising €20m from sponsors.

Solar Impulse 2 started its round the world journey in March 2015 in Abu Dhabi. The date of return to its starting point is as yet uncertain and will depend in part on weather conditions.

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