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After The ProphetThis month’s preferred reading is After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam by Lesley Hazleton.

In this gripping narrative history, Lesley Hazleton tells the tragic story at the heart of the ongoing rivalry between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam, a rift that dominates the news now more than ever.
 
Even as Muhammad lay dying, the battle over who would take control of the new Islamic nation had begun, beginning a succession crisis marked by power grabs, assassination, political intrigue, and passionate faith. Soon Islam was embroiled in civil war, pitting its founder's controversial wife Aisha against his son-in-law Ali, and shattering Muhammad’s ideal of unity.
    
Combining meticulous research with compelling storytelling, After the Prophet explores the volatile intersection of religion and politics, psychology and culture, and history and current events. It is an indispensable guide to the depth and power of the Shia–Sunni split.

 

 

 

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from City A.M... by Ayo Salami October 23, 2014 REPORTS of people cancelling safari holidays in Kenya and South Africa due to fears of Ebola (over 3,000 miles away in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) are the latest manifestation of the devastating impact on African economies wrought by the perception of Africa as one homogenous place. Nowhere else in the world would 54 countries, home to over 1bn people speaking over 2,000 languages, be lumped together in

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from The Africa Report..By Billie Adwoa McTernan in AccraOctober 22, 2014 Despite growing oil and gas production, economic troubles dominate. As veteran finance minister Kwesi Botchwey prepared to lead Ghana's delegation for negotiations with the IMF on an economic reform package in mid-September, President John Dramani Mahama was insisting the government was not looking for a short-term fix to the budget deficit. Rather, he said, the IMF talks were about wider economic restructuring and reforming institutions, not simply
from Balkan Insight..By Gordana Andric | BIRN | BelgradeOctober 22, 2014 Serbia's government on Wednesday adopted a draft revised budget and accompanying bills that cut pensions and salaries, stating that the package would ensure financial stability. Finance Minister Dusan Vujovic said parliament would start to debate the budget on Friday, October 24. The draft budget sets the budget deficit at 225 billion dinars [€1.8 billion] instead of 182 billion dinars [€1.5 billion]. Budget expenditures rise from 1.113 billion
from Balkan Insight..By Marian Chiriac | BucharestOctober 22, 2014 Romania's governing Social Democrats have suspended three senior leaders in a move to quell internal disputes over the succession to Victor Ponta as party leader. In a move to calm factional feuds inside the leadership of the ruling Social Democratic Party, PSD, the party's governing body has suspended three senior members, Sebastian Ghita, Dan Sova and Marian Vanghelie. Each has been at the centre of a scandal in recent
from allafrica.com..Source: Thomson ReutersOctober 22, 2014PRESS RELEASE Johannesburg — Thomson Reuters, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, today released the quarterly investment banking analysis for the Sub Saharan Africa region. During the first nine months of 2014, fees for Sub Saharan African Investment Banking services totalled US$118.6 million according to estimates from Thomson Reuters/Freeman Consulting, a 30% increase from the previous quarter and the highest quarterly fee total since the first quarter

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from The Daily Star (Lebanon)..By Rhami G. Kouri | ColumnistOctober 22, 2014 The frightening rise and expansion of ISIS, which has now triggered yet another round of American-led foreign military attacks in the Levant, continues to confound many in the region and around the world. Many ask: Where did these killers come from and where do they aim to go? These issues will be clarified in the months and perhaps years ahead, but one aspect of ISIS should be crystal
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from The Cyprus Mail..October 22, 2014 Archaeologists excavating at Erimi-Laonin tou Porakou in the Limassol district have uncovered a complex of workshops covering an area 30X30 metres that appear to have been used for textiles and dyeing. “A complete open-air working area extends towards the eastern area of the complex, while a series of two new large rectangular units were cleared on the western and eastern wings with a completely preserved monolithic stone threshold, as well as
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from The Cyprus Mail..October 22, 2014 Overcoming the legacies of the financial crisis is still challenging for Cyprus, and the outlook remains difficult, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday. It said that on October 20, 2014, the IMF’s Executive Board had concluded the Article IV consultation with Cyprus, and concluded that the government had made considerable progress in addressing the crisis. However it said output was expected to decline this year by a further 3.2
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from Al Jazeera..By Patrick StricklandOctober 22, 2014 Despite the barriers and uncertainty, Tunisia has fared far better than its Arab Spring counterparts.[AFP] Tunisians head to the polls on Sunday amid fears that voters have lost confidence in the country's quest for democracy. Tunis - Vocal Tunisian activist and political blogger Emir Sfaxi fears that his compatriots are losing steam in the country's quest to build a vibrant democracy, which began when a popular uprising ousted former President Zine El
from The New York Times..By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICKOCTOBER  21, 2014 TUNIS — Nearly four years after the Arab Spring revolt, Tunisia remains its lone success as chaos engulfs much of the region. But that is not its only distinction: Tunisia has also contributed more foreign fighters than any other country to the extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria. And throughout the working class suburbs of the capital, young men are eager to talk about