Friday, February 27, 2015

First Photo Of 'Jihadi John' As Adult Revealed

The first known photograph has emerged of Mohammed Emwazi - the Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John" - as an adult.

Showing him with a goatee beard and wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap, the image is revealed in student records from his time at the University of Westminster.
It comes after the 26-year-old who became the masked face of the notorious terror organization was identified as the figure seen in several videos of hostages being beheaded.
Also revealed are the details of Emwazi's academic achievements during his stint at the university in London's Cavendish campus, between 2006 and 2009.
According to the document, he passed all but two of the modules in his Information Systems with Business Management degree, for which he was awarded a lower second honours (2:2).

The 27-year-old went to St Mary Magdalene Church of England school in Maida Vale, west London

Gallery: Jihadi John's University Academic Record

Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John, studied a computing course at university.

His file shows mostly middling academic grades for his course modules. He graduated with a lower second (2.2) degree.
Emwazi is believed to be the British-accented man who has appeared in Islamic State beheading videos.

Pictures have also emerged of Emwazi from his school yearbook in 1996

 The record shows he was awarded a "condoned credit; retake" status for modules in Business Information Systems and Managing Business Organizations.
An unnamed classmate told The Sun newspaper that Emwazi, who reportedly came from a devout family, was the only Muslim in the class and would demonstrate Arabic writing to the class.
A personal friend in university has described him as a very gentle man and the advocacy group CAGE said the Kuwaiti-born Briton was "extremely kind" and "extremely gentle" but had been harassed by the UK security services. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Jihadi John Identified to the Public

The masked militant first appeared in numerous gruesome videos put out by Islamic State, as Lucy Manning reports

The masked Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John", who has been pictured in the videos of the beheadings of Western hostages, has been named. He is Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British man in his mid-20s from west London, who was previously known to British security services. British police declined to comment, citing ongoing investigations.
Emwazi first appeared in a video last August, when he apparently killed the US journalist James Foley. Dragana Haines, wife of slain hostage David: "I hope he will be caught alive... He needs to be put to justice". He was later thought to have been pictured in the videos of the beheadings of US journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning, and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known as Peter.

(Clockwise from left) James Foley, Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig,  Alan Henning,  Kenji Goto and Steven Sotloff
(Clockwise from left) Islamic State victims James Foley, Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig, Alan Henning, Kenji Goto and Steven Sotloff

In each of the videos, the militant appeared dressed in a black robe with a black balaclava covering all but his eyes and top of his nose. Speaking with a British accent, he taunted Western powers before holding his knife to the hostages' necks, appearing to start cutting before the film stopped. The victims' decapitated bodies were then shown.
Earlier this month, the militant featured in a video in which the Japanese journalist Kenji Goto appeared to be beheaded. Hostages released by IS said he was one of three British jihadists guarding Westerners abducted by the group in Syria. They were known collectively as "the Beatles".

Mohammed Emwazi timeline:

  • 1988: Born in Kuwait, moves to UK in 1994
  • 2009: Completes computing degree at University of Westminster
  • Aug 2009: Travels to Tanzania with two friends for safari but refused entry at Dar es Salaam. Put on flight to Amsterdam. After questioning there, returns to Dover
  • Sept 2009: Travels to Kuwait to stay with father's family
  • July 2010: Returns to UK for short stay but told he cannot return to Kuwait as visa denied
  • 2012: Passes Celta English language teaching course
  • 2013: Changes name by deed poll. Tries to travel to Kuwait but is stopped. Disappears. Parents report him missing. Police tell family four months later he has entered Syria

In a news conference, Asim Qureshi, the research director of the London-based lobby group Cage, which had been in contact with Emwazi over a number of years, explained how he had been approached by the Washington Post for the story and detailed the difficulties Emwazi had had with security services in the UK and overseas.
Mr Qureshi said Emwazi, who is understood to be about 27, had been "extremely kind, gentle and soft-spoken, the most humble young person I knew". He said he could "not be 100% certain" Jihadi John was Emwazi although there were "striking similarities".

Journalists gathered outside a home in west London where Mohammed Emwazi is believed to have once lived 
Journalists gathered outside a home in London where Mohammed Emwazi is believed to have once lived

Emwazi's difficulties began when he travelled to Tanzania in May 2009 following his graduation in computer programming at the University of Westminster, Mr Qureshi added. He and two friends had planned to go on a safari but once they landed in Dar es Salaam they were detained by police and held overnight.
Emwazi then ended up flying to Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, where he claimed to be met by British intelligence agents from MI5 who accused him of trying to travel to Somalia, where the jihadist group al-Shabab operates. He denied the accusation and said the agents had tried to recruit him before allowing him to return to the UK.
US and British counter-terrorism officials discovered the identity of "Jihadi John" as far back as last September. The FBI, Britain's MI5 and other intelligence agencies used a combination of voice recognition software, interviews with former hostages and on-the-ground research in London to build up a profile of the man now revealed to be Mohammed Emwazi.
They have always declined to reveal the name for "operational reasons". Now that it's out in the public domain, it's emerged that Emwazi was well-known to MI5 and that it even tried to recruit him as an informer, years before he went off to Syria to eventually join Islamic State.
The practice by intelligence agencies of approaching jihadist sympathizers to work for them is likely to continue. It's believed both Britain and the US have informers inside the Islamic State "capital" of Raqqa. Yet this seems to have been little help in stopping the actions of Mohammed Emwazi, or bringing him to justice.
Emwazi later moved to Kuwait, where he got a job at a computer company. But on a visit to London in 2010, he was detained by British counter-terrorism officials and prevented from flying back to Kuwait, his friends said.
"I had a job waiting for me and marriage to get started," Emwazi wrote in a June 2010 email to Cage.

Asim Qureshi of the human rights group Cage describes Mohammed Emwazi as a "beautiful young man"
"[But now] I feel like a prisoner, only not in a cage, in London," he added, "a person imprisoned and controlled by security service men, stopping me from living my new life in my birthplace and country, Kuwait."
Mr Qureshi said Emwazi had made persistent efforts to try to change his situation: "We had two-and-a-half years of communications talking about what he could do to alleviate his problems."
He said he did not know what had happened to Emwazi, adding: "When we treat people as if they are outsiders they will inevitably feel like outsiders - our entire national security strategy for the last 13 years has only increased alienation. A narrative of injustice has taken root."

Emwazi was believed to have travelled to Syria around 2013 and later joined IS, which has declared the creation of a "caliphate" in the large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq it controls.
A spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron would not confirm or deny the latest reports, adding that the police and security services were working hard to find those responsible for the murder of the British hostages.
The University of Westminster confirmed Emwazi had left six years ago, adding: "If these allegations are true, we are shocked and sickened." The FBI went on record last September to confirm it knew who Jihadi John was. However, US officials said this month they would not name him as they believed this would be the best strategy for finding him and bringing him to justice. A spokesman for the family of Steven Sotloff said: "We want to sit in a courtroom, watch him sentenced and see him sent to a super-max prison."
David Haines's sister, Bethany, welcomed the identification, but told ITV News: "I think all the families will feel closure and relief once there's a bullet between his eyes."

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
Please help me bring awareness and education about organ donation . There are thousands of people waiting for a transplant and hundreds of others awaiting a replacement of a previously transplanted organ . Many organ recipients outlive the longevity of their transplant .
Please tell your readers that living organ donors offer better longevity than organs from a cadaver donor . Finding donors promptly is also less expensive and much better health-wise .
In recent years, a great deal has changed with transplants for both the recipient and the living donors; i.e. kidney transplants are now being done Laparoscopically and recuperation for the donor now averages two weeks .
Potential recipients use every resource available, but don't always find a match . Please ask your readers to help those in need . Sadly our family knows the importance of this from personal experience .
Ardis Brother 
 Dear friend,  Ardis' brother,
Your letter speaks, eloquently, for itself. My family also has had personal experience in waiting for a kidney donor.
Many people are on waiting lists for organs for years. Many do not live to receive one. As a living donor you can donate  one of  your kidneys, or even one of two lobes of your liver . You, also, can donate part of the lung, the pancreas or the intestines because the remaining portions stay fully functional . And finally, living donors can donate skin, bone, blood, marrow, blood stem cells and umbilical cord blood after childbirth . Organ donors  are 'NOT' charged, although sometimes there are  other  costs, such as  travel expenses . You can also easily arrange to donate organs after your death.  Please do some research for yourself and give it serious consideration.
For  more  information on organ donation , check out :  ( ). For finanical assistance, contact ( )

Dear Maxy ,
It has been said that love doesn't cost a thing, though it's possible that's just a good movie title . Whether it is money, time or energy, love does indeed cost . 
I have recently gotten engaged to my fiancee and I can't wait to marry her . We are now in the planning mode for the wedding and I realize that money is beginning to spread thin . 
Being a young working professional, I have decided to keep the wedding small but still invite my close friends from college . I am beginning to feel pressured to spend what I don't have because many of my friends continue asking if I will have an open bar at the reception . I won't ; an open bar is simply too much money for my budget . But I want my friends to have fun . Is it really worth spending the extra money for an open bar reception ?
Groom on a Budget 
Dear Groom on a Budget ,
Weddings are about love, hope — and toasts! They're also about priorities and how to balance them. Naturally, you want  to host a wedding that will be classy, memorable and enjoyable for all your guests .
Wedding etiquette suggests that your guests should not have to pay for their drinks. That does not mean that you should go into unnecessary debt . You may want to consider providing a couple ( or more) of complimentary bottles of wine and one bottle of champagne ( for a wedding toast ) for each table. You could also have a very large and potent bowl of  punch displayed prominently.
You can also have a 'soft bar' which limits the open bar to beer, wine and vodka cocktails ( or other specific popular mixed drinks). These options are commonly used these days when couples are on a budget . Another  budget friendly idea is to have a disposable camera on each table so the guests can snap pictures for you and leave the cameras on the tables after the reception. This can save a bundle on a photographer and you can put the extra cash toward the alcohol.
 Most important is for you to manage your friends expectations and above all, make it a beautiful day for you and your bride.

Dear Maxy ,
I've recently been invited to a company party as a new friend's plus one. I want to go, but I found out the company is an employer of an old flame, who I dated during high school and throughout college . We did not end on good terms . I don't really know how things would go having a face-to-face interaction . The new guy that I am dating doesn't know about the previous guy and I don't want him to ditch me because of my former relationship . This is the first time we are going out as a couple . Should I tell him about the previous guy and attend the party , or should I avoid the situation altogether ?
 Dear Betwixt,
You definitely should let  your new guy know  that  your  ex works at his  company. Without going into  excessive detail, let him know that  you two dated for some time when you were younger and it didn't end well . Honesty is always the best policy. Express your trepidation  about  going  to the party . Talk it through together and make a decision that allows you both to feel comfortable . If you decide to go, don't spend the evening trying to avoid your ex and spoiling the fun for you and your date. If you come face to face with him, smile, greet him politely and move on. It wouldn't be wise to engage him in conversation if there are still hard feelings.

Dear Maxy ,
Our daughter and her husband have two young children . Over the years we have been very close to our grandsons . We recently found out that our daughter has started a relationship with my son from a first marriage . Forty years ago, I gave up this son for adoption when he was 4 years old . This son contacted me when he was 28 . I told him I felt he should have contacted me earlier and that I did not want to start a relationship at that time . I never heard from him again . He is now 44 years old .
We phoned our daughter as soon as we heard about this new relationship and told her we weren't to crazy about it . She became angry . They are adults and can have whatever relationship they want . We didn't forbid it . But they phoned us later and left a message on our answering machine saying we are "dead" to them and will "never see our grandsons again." We could hear the kids crying in the background .
My daughter will not speak to us at all . It has broken our hearts . How do we get our grandsons back into our lives ?
Brokenhearted in Florida
Dear Brokenhearted,
I agree your daughter is being harsh but I am having a hard time sympathizing entirely with you. It would be helpful to know why you waited until your son was four to give him up. I assume you had a good reason, but he must have felt abandoned and frightened.
And why was there a time limit on his being able to contact you?  It must have taken time to trace you and longer to work up the courage to approach you. Your rather cool dismissal of him must have felt much the same as the rejection he felt at four years of age.
I can't say for certain, but it seems he made it his business to become acquainted with your daughter. Perhaps when she learned his version of the events in his life, she felt righteous indignation on his behalf and saw you in a very different light, which lowered you in her estimation. This, conceivably, could be the reason she denied you access to your grandsons; plus the fact that you disapproved of her having a relationship with her own brother.
It's possible you won't be able restore good relations with your daughter until you reconcile with your older son. Or she may, in time, realize she is hurting her own children by denying them their grandparents' love.
There is also another option, if you don't wish to wait for a  change of heart. As grandparents, in the state of Florida, you do have legal rights to see your grandsons and can be awarded court mandated visitation. You would have to see a lawyer who specializes in family law.
Helpful website:-
In cases where the whole family is in such distress, it is always advisable to seek counseling as a family group.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sea levels along North East Atlantic Coast Rising to Record Levels

Satellite image

Sea levels along the northeast coast of the US and Canada rose by record levels during 2009-2010, a study has found. Sea levels north of New York City rose by 128mm ( over five inches) in two years, according to a report in the journal, Nature Communications. Coastal areas will need to prepare for short term and extreme sea level events, say US scientists. Climate models suggest extreme sea level rises will become more common this century. The extreme sea level rise event during 2009-10 along the northeast coast of North America is unprecedented during the past century.

Scientists at the University of Arizona and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in New Jersey studied records of tidal levels along the east coast of the US and Canada.
They divided the coastline into three areas: north of New York City, New York City to Cape Hatteras on the coast of North Carolina, and south of Cape Hatteras and identified a sea-level rise much higher than predicted.
Commenting on the study, Prof Rowan Sutton, climate scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science stated, "In addition to long-term and gradual sea level rise, coastal communities will need to prepare for short and extreme sea level rise events and flooding." He said climate models suggest an increase in such events.
"There is strong evidence that the likelihood of such events has been greatly increased by climate change, and that we should expect more such events in the future."
"This example illustrates how individual extreme events are influenced by multiple factors - in this case climate change is likely the major cause of global rise in sea levels but regional changes in ocean circulation and wind patterns play their part."
"Sea level change is a complex phenomenon. The east coast of North America is quite close to an area of active, fast ocean currents, and so is quite sensitive to changing ocean circulation."
This sea level rise has implications for Europe and Africa as well as the US and could make European summers wetter and may influence rainfall patterns in parts of Africa and Asia.
You thought the movie 'Water World' was science fiction. Now it is a possible future

Obama Vetoes Pipeline....Republicans Just Getting Started

President Barack Obama gestures as he finishes speaking to members of the National Governors Association, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, in the State Dining Room of White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The Canadian Press - President Barack Obama gestures as he finishes speaking to members of the National Governors Association, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, in the State Dining Room of White House in Washington.

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama made good Tuesday on a threat to veto a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, bringing the two sides in the long-running controversy to a rare point of agreement: their battle is far from over.
''The president is sadly mistaken if he thinks vetoing this bill will end this fight,'' the Republican leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives wrote in an open letter.
''Far from it. We are just getting started.''
The Canadian government echoed that theme: ''It is not a question of if this project will be approved; it is a matter of when,'' said a statement from Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford.
''We will continue to strongly advocate for this job-creating project.''
Even the White House concurred that the issue is far from settled. It pointed out that Tuesday's announcement was a step in a long, winding process — not a final destination.
The president cast the veto as a matter of procedural principle. In his letter to Congress, Obama said the bill he was scrapping had improperly tried to usurp presidential authority.

The White House position is that cross-border pipeline permits are a matter for the president to decide — not Congress, which passed a bill earlier this month forcing the approval of the project.
That bill was delivered to the president Tuesday and he vetoed it on the very first available day.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the president could still, in theory, approve the pipeline. The veto doesn't necessarily reflect Obama's view on the pipeline itself, he noted.
''It certainly is possible,'' said Earnest said, noting the president would keep an "open mind" on the project.
"(This) does not represent a specific position on the pipeline itself... It just merely says that the benefits, and consequences, of building that pipeline should be thoroughly evaluated by experts and through this administrative process that has existed for decades.''

Activists hold a rally against approval of the Keystone XL pipeline,in front of the White House.
Activists hold a rally against approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, in front of the White House.

The administration couldn't say Tuesday when the process would wrap up. But Earnest said he expects a decision soon after the conclusion of the review by the State Department, which is leading the process.
There could also be many more twists and turns in Congress, as alluded to in the open letter Tuesday by Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.
Republicans will attempt to override the veto, although they don't appear to have the necessary two-thirds majority. The project only has support from a minority of Democrats.
One of those rare Democrats also hinted at future congressional efforts. There's widespread expectation that lawmakers might try attaching a pipeline provision to legislation Obama might find attractive, and difficult to veto.
''We're going to basically find a middle, if you will, and move forward,'' West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin told Fox News on Tuesday.
But the sides in this dispute can't agree on much else — not even basic poll findings.
Keystone XL supporters point to surveys consistently showing that a majority of Americans — or at least a plurality — support the project.
But environmentalists released their own poll this week suggesting most Americans don't really have a strong opinion on the issue, and would rather see Congress move on to other things

Monday, February 23, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

You will never guess where this snowstorm hit

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks on a snow-covered street early morning near Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood

Children play in the snow in front of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks on a snow-covered street early morning near Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood
Snowstorm hits Jerusalem and Israel's desert

 A heavy snowstorm has shut down roads leading in and out of Jerusalem and blanketed Israel's desert with a rare layer of white.
Snow also landed Friday in parts of the West Bank as a cold front swept through the Middle East. In Gaza, heavy rains that started on Thursday have been forecast for the rest of the week.
Jerusalem municipality spokeswoman Brachie Sprung says 10 inches have already been dumped on the city, with 4 inches more expected later in the day.
Desert towns of Beersheba, Dimona and Yerucham were sprinkled with white and residents of Arad proudly showed off a snowman. Yes folks, the global climate is changing and the world is topsy turvy.

A man prays in the snow at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem's Old City

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men stand on a snow-covered street outside Jerusalem's Old City

Municipality workers clear snow from the tracks of the light rail tram early morning in Jerusalem

A crows flies over the snow-covered Mount of Olives cemetery outside Jerusalem's Old City

Snow covers the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem

pedestrian walks on a snow-covered street early morning in Jerusalem