World This Week: Mecca in Trouble
The site in Mecca where the Prophet Mohamed is said to have been born is about to be “buried under marble” and replaced by a huge royal palace. The work is part of a multibillion-pound construction project in the holy city which has already resulted in the destruction of hundreds of historic monuments.
The project, which began several years ago, aims to expand the al-Masjid al-Haram, or the Grand Mosque, to cater for the millions of pilgrims who make their way to the holy city each year for the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that all Muslims are obliged to make at least once.
Mecca is the holiest city in Islam because of its link to the birth of the Prophet, and because it is the site of the Kaaba, said to have been built by Abraham. The Grand Mosque is built around it and Muslims face towards it when they pray.
According to the Gulf Institute, based in Washington, up to 95 per cent of Mecca's millennium-old buildings have been destroyed, to be replaced with luxury hotels, apartments and shopping malls.
Last week, the remaining 500-year-old Ottoman columns, commemorating the Prophet's ascent to heaven, were destroyed. The House of Mawlid, thought to be where the Prophet was born in AD 570, is likely to be destroyed before the end of the year. n
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The moment you think about a CEO addressing a cyber security conference you definitely do not think of a kid giving away that gyan to the so called intellectual elite. But eight-year old Indian-origin child prodigy, Reuben Paul, is an exception. He will be one of the key speakers among experts who will address a cyber security conference in New Delhi.
The US-based whizkid Reuben Paul will speak about the need for developing cyber security skills in the current generation, according to the organizers of Ground Zero Summit. Minister of State for External Affairs, V K Singh, is also listed as a keynote speaker for the event that will take place on November14.
The organizers said, “8-year-old Reuben Paul gives keynote at Houston Security Conference.” Reuben has been trained in Object C programming language by his father, Mano Paul. He is now learning Swift programming, for Apple’s iOS platform. He has his own gaming firm called Prudent Games, and is designated as CEO of the company. Mano Paul, his father is his partner in the company.
“I started learning about computer languages around one-and-a-half years back. Now I design my own projects,” Reuben stated.
He will talk about need to create awareness about cyber security among young kids as well as demo on white page hacking.
Other keynote speakers listed for the event include Home Ministry Joint Secretary Nirmaljeet Singh Kalsi, National Technical Research Organization Director of Cyber Security Operations Alok Vijayant and Special Commissioner Police (Traffic) with Delhi Police Muktesh Chander. n
Deadlock over Food security issue resolved
India and the US have successfully resolved differences on public stockholding issue for food security purposes in WTO, paving the way for implementation of trade facilitation pacts at WTO. Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “India and US have resolved impasse over food security issues in WTO.
“There was a greater understanding of India's position after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US,” she added. At the end of July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pulled the plug on implementing a Trade Facilitation Agreement struck in Bali last year, linking it to the emotive issue of rural poverty in his country of 1.25 billion people.
India had wanted indefinitely to extend a 'peace clause' to protect a subsidised food distribution scheme until the WTO can strike a definitive deal on stockpiling. In Bali, the WTO agreed that the clause would expire in four years.
The trade row had isolated Asia's third-largest economy and plunged the WTO into its worst crisis in two decades, as countries led by the United States considered abandoning the principle of consensus under which the 160-nation group works.