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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 The Economist.. October 25, 2014 | From the print edition Tunisia works, but it is fragile. The rest of the world should give it a hand   THE hope that popular protests against Arab dictators in 2011 would bring justice and democracy has given way to despair, chaos and unimaginable bloodletting. Yet the spirit of the Arab spring survives in the country where it all started: Tunisia. The country has adopted a new constitution that guarantees religious
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from Frontline (USAID)..By Deborah Ou-YangSeptember/October Edition Higher-efficiency charcoal kilns reduce environmental hazards as alternative energy sources undergo development. A BioCarbon Partners Trust staff member, right, explains the charcoal production process and improved kiln technology during a site visit. Improved kilns produce greater amounts of better quality charcoal.Rasa Kent, USAID Zambia is one of the most forested countries in Africa, with over 60 percent of the country covered by woodland. Officials as well as others concerned about the
Tagged in: Energy Environment
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from Frontlines (USAID)..By Carrie AbendrothSeptember/October Issue The world is a market for African entrepreneurs who are selling their goods, including apparel and handbags, outside the continent’s borders, thanks to a U.S. trade initiative. Masai fabrics are hand cut in preparation for custom-made Doreen Mashika handbag/Rudy Gharib, USAID In late February, U.S.-based retailer Anthropologie launched the "Legend and Song Collection" celebrating the craft and artisans of East Africa. The new collection brought together traditional African bold prints, textures and beading
from The Daily Star (Lebanon)..By Dana HalawiOctober 25, 2014 BEIRUT: The ailing state of the economy’s major sectors is prompting venture capital firms to delve into new fields for investments, benefiting from Central Bank incentives aimed at boosting employment opportunities and entrepreneurship in Lebanon. One new initiative is the Impact Fund, which according to its management is the largest venture capital fund in Lebanon with investment commitments in excess of $50 million and the first to comply with the
from the Financial Times.. By James    in London October 21, 2014 Uganda is counting on China to provide $10bn to build much of its infrastructure backbone because Beijing offers the cheapest capital available, does not interfere in the African country’s controversy over homosexuality and has “big money” available, President Yoweri Museveni said. In an interview with the FT, Mr Museveni said that Uganda’s previous intention to issue a debut sovereign bond to finance infrastructure projects was now a “last
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from EMIA..Source: The Wall Street JournalBy HILLARY CANADAOctober 24, 2014 It turns out Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. isn’t the only one to stop and smell the roses. The buyout shop, which earlier this year invested in Ethiopian flower company Afriflora, is one of a number of global players drawn to the growth prospects of Africa. Investment by international shops more than doubled in the first half of the year to $1.5 billion compared with $621 million during
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from EMIA..Source: The Wall Street JournalBy Sean CarneyOctober 24, 2014 Depositors at Bulgaria’s Corporate Commercial Bank gather near the main entrance of the bank’s main office during a demonstration demanding access to their accounts. - Reuters Bulgaria’s central bank is ready to let the country’s fourth-largest bank fail, requiring the government to top up a fund to compensate depositors after an audit found a 4.22 billion lev ($2.73 billion) hole in the troubled bank’s accounts. The central bank,
from The Daily Star.. By the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh October 24, 2014 EVERY year on October 24, we celebrate UN Day, commemorating the founding of the United Nations. Since joining 40 years ago, Bangladesh has experienced significant gains in economic growth and human development. In 2000, world leaders met at the UN Headquarters in New York for the Millennium Summit, which introduced to the world the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals would guide
from a Financail Times Opinion.. By Hossein Mousavian October 23, 2014 A lack of central authority opens the door to a charismatic leader, writes Hossein Mousavian There are few happy consequences of the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has swept across Iraq and Syria since the beginning of the year. A rare shaft of light, however, is to be found in the rapprochement between the two biggest branches of the Islamic mainstream. Shia and
from the Financial Times.. By Heba Saleh in Tunis October 23, 2014 Pointing to a large poster printed with a red Tunisian flag framing pictures of eight young men killed during the 2011 revolution, Monzer Khamiri, an unemployed graduate from a poor suburb of Tunis, sounded bitter. “The youth made this revolution and our friends were martyred, but now our lives are rubbish,” said the young man, who has not been able to find work for three