npr reviews English edition of the Shahnameh

https://www.npr.org/2013/08/25/214831942/heart-of-iranian-identity-reimagined-for-a-new-generation

npr reviews an entirely English edition of the Shahnameh by interviewing the illustrator of the translation;  Hamid Rahmanian. He explain that the true identity of Iran will always be that of poetry, and Shahnameh is central to that. This is mostly likely why the government is so eager to put it back together. It is almost as if they are trying reclaiming their scattered identity from the chaos of modern Iran.

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Egypt temporarily re-opens Gaza’s Rafah crossing

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/egypt-temporarily-opens-gaza-rafah-crossing-170506134401488.html

Egypt opened Rafah crossing, the only way into Gaza that doesn’t involve Israel, for three days.  The crossing has been strictly controlled and at this time Palestinians were only able to leave Egypt.  The crossing has been watched for the last ten years after Israel placed an embargo on the strip.  Last year, the crossing was only open for just over 30 days, and in 2015 for just a month and a half. Many of those crossing in the past have done so for medical care in Egypt.

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Pentagon investigation: US hit mosque complex in Syria

This is a breaking story on the news based on the airstrike that the U.S. took in Syria. When the story first broke a month ago the U.S. had said that a mosque that some believed was hit with a bomb along with the building holding al Qaeda members. The U.S. now admits that unintentionally it did hit a mosque and there may have been civilian casualties.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/04/politics/syria-mosque-march-strike-us-investigation/index.html

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Russia moves to enforce safe zones despite rebel opposition

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39823236

Despite refusal by rebel leaders, Russia has moved forward with it’s plan to enforce 4 safe zones in Syria.  It has issued a statement that they will go into effect at midnight tonight, noting also that it will not allow US-coalition aircraft within their borders. (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/russia-syria-safe-zones-closed-coalition-planes-170505072733285.html)

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The Judicial Bodies Law threatens the independence of judiciary turning it into an arena for expanding Sisi’s powers.

“On April 27, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ratified the Judicial Bodies Law No 13 of 2017, a day after Egypt’s House of Representatives issued its final approval of the law. By so doing, Egypt‘s authoritarian regime has taken an additional step towards full subordination of state institutions, rendering them completely submissive to the military-security ruling establishment.”

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/05/sisi-law-tool-restore-tyranny-170503074648055.html

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UNESCO passes Jerusalem resolution critical of Israel

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/unesco-passes-jerusalem-resolution-critical-israel-170502160841594.html

UNESCO passed a resolution critical of Israel’s actions in the Ghaza stripa and Jerusalem, which many countries are saying they are violating international law.  In addition to Palestine, many other middle eastern countries supported this resolution. Israel said the resolution was unnecessary and they planned on continuing their operations in Jerusalem. Palestine though see’s it as a step forward.

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Syria government ‘producing chemical weapons at research facilities’

The Syrian Government is producing chemical weapons in violation of a 2013 deal to eliminate them, via a Western Intelligence agency. This is just after a Syrian plane dropped chemical bombs killing nearly 100 people, and the U.S. sending a missile attack on a Syrian airbase in response to this.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39796763

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Turkey blocks Wikipedia over what it calls terror ‘smear campaign’

On Saturday, the Turkish government recently blocked access to Wikipedia because of linking the nation to terror activity. “It has become part of an information source which is running a smear campaign against Turkey in the international arena,” the ministry said.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/29/europe/turkey-wikipedia/index.html

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Russia, Iran and Turkey Agree to Create Four Safe Zones in Syria

A memorandum was signed on Thursday by Russia, Iran, and Turkey to create four safe “de-escalation zones” in Syria. If the memorandum is successful, it would be one of most extensive steps in ending bloodshed in the war.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/04/world/middleeast/russia-iran-turkey-syria-de-escalation-zones.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fmiddleeast&action=click&contentCollection=middleeast&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

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Iraqi front leaves hundreds of thousands of civilians on an “urban battlefield”

Iraq has opened a front in Western Mosul in an attempt to combat ISIS. The ISIS forces have been fighting the counterterrorist group for seventeen months now, leaving hundreds of thousands of civilians on an “urban battlefield.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/04/world/middleeast/iraqi-forces-west-mosul-isis.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

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