Thursday, May 15, 2008

It is so damn good to be a Californian today!


NEW YORK, 15 May 2008 (BWNS) -- Six Baha'i leaders in Iran were arrested and taken to the notorious Evin prison yesterday in a sweep that is ominously similar to episodes in the 1980s when scores of Iranian Baha'i leaders were summarily rounded up and killed.The six men and women, all members of the national-level group that helped see to the minimum needs of Baha'is in Iran, were in their homes Wednesday morning when government intelligence agents entered and spent up to five hours searching each home, before taking them away.The seventh member of the national coordinating group was arrested in early March in Mashhad after being summoned by the Ministry of Intelligence office there on an ostensibly trivial matter."We protest in the strongest terms the arrests of our fellow Baha'is in Iran," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations. "Their only crime is their practice of the Baha'i Faith.""Especially disturbing is how this latest sweep recalls the wholesale arrest or abduction of the members of two national Iranian Baha'i governing councils in the early 1980s -- which led to the disappearance or execution of 17 individuals," she said."The early morning raids on the homes of these prominent Baha'is were well coordinated, and it is clear they represent a high-level effort to strike again at the Baha'is and to intimidate the Iranian Baha'i community at large," said Ms. Dugal.Arrested yesterday were: Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mr.Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm. All live in Tehran. Mrs. Kamalabadi, Mr. Khanjani, and Mr. Tavakkoi have been previously arrested and then released after periods ranging from five days to four months.Arrested in Mashhad on 5 March 2008 was Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, who also resides in Tehran. Mrs. Sabet was summoned to Mashhad by the Ministry of Intelligence, ostensibly on the grounds that she was required to answer questions related to the burial of an individual in the Baha'i cemetery in that city.On 21 August 1980, all nine members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Iran were abducted and disappeared without a trace. It is certain that they were killed.The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Iran was reconstituted soon after that but was again ravaged by the execution of eight of its members on 27 December 1981.A number of members of local Baha'i governing councils, known as local Spiritual Assemblies, were also arrested and executed in the early 1980s, before an international outcry forced the government to slow its execution of Baha'is. Since 1979, more than 200 Baha'is have been killed or executed in Iran, although none have been executed since 1998.In 1983, the government outlawed all formal Baha'i administrative institutions and the Iranian Baha'i community responded by disbanding its National Spiritual Assembly, which is an elected governing council, along with some 400 local level elected governing councils. Baha'is throughout Iran also suspended nearly all of their regular organizational activity.The informal national-level coordinating group, known as the Friends, was established with the knowledge of the government to help cope with the diverse needs of Iran's 300,000-member Baha'i community, which is the country's largest religious minority.To view the photos and additional features click here:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Good news, bad news...


Governor softens stance on planned cuts to Cal. State University funding; the fight for funding now moves to the state legislature

Supporters intend to build on the Gov’s first step towards fully funding public higher education

Today Gov. Schwarzenegger made public his revised plan for the 2008/09 state budget. The May revise proposes to add back $97.6 million in state funding to the CSU, reducing the proposed budget cuts from $386 to $288 million.

“The governor’s revised budget plan is a step in the right direction toward adequately funding our state university system,” said CFA President Lillian Taiz.

Taiz continued, “Now the supporters of the CSU must ramp up our efforts to get the remainder of the necessary CSU funding in the budget by taking our message to the state Legislature. We are hopeful that the members of the Legislature will continue the Governor’s step in the right direction by fully funding public higher education.

“I want to acknowledge all those who have participated in our advocacy efforts with the Alliance for the CSU up to this point and ask them to continue to be vigilant until all $386 million dollars is restored.”

In a press release sent out this afternoon, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed echoed Taiz’ praise of the Alliance saying:

“I am particularly pleased with the tremendous collaboration of students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni who under the Alliance for the CSU, have advocated for full funding for the university system. Their demonstrations at each of our 23 campuses and at the state capitol have highlighted the value of higher education for the economy of our state.“Still much can happen between now and the day when the legislature and the Governor adopt the final budget. So, we must continue our advocacy in this unprecedented collaborative way for the sake of higher education and California’s future.”

See the governor’s proposed budget docs at:

See his revised budget plan for the CSU at:


Earlier in the day, the CSU Board of Trustees voted to increase undergraduate student fees for the upcoming academic year by 10%.

Members of the committee passed the measure – which will result in fees having doubled since 2001 – over the objections of Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, Trustee Melinda Guzman and student Trustee Jennifer Reimer.

CFA Vice President Kim Gerón addressed the Trustees on the fee increase saying, ”This student fee increase could not come at a worse time for struggling California families. The costs of housing, healthcare, food, and gasoline are rising unchecked.” Gerón continued, “When combined with these ‘educational fee increases,’ working class families will be denied the very educational path that could lift them out of economic stress. The most effective form of financial aid for California would be to fully fund the CSU budget to help reverse the current economic downturn for all the citizens of the state.”

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Yesterday in Yosemite with Prof Koichu

Prof. Boris Koichu, is leading researcher from the Technion, and is outstanding in the field of math education...

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