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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Will Saudi Arabia MOVE the remains of Prophet Muhammad? Controversial plan for 'anonymous' burial to prevent the site itself being worshipped

  • Plans have reportedly been put forward to move the prophet's remains
  • They are currently housed in tomb in mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia
  • But some Muslims fear that the site is leading to idolatry, or object worship
  • No plans have been agreed but it is reported the idea has been circulated

    Controversial plans have emerged to move the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam's second-holiest site.
    The Prophet Muhammad, born in 570 AD, is believed by Muslims to be the last of God's prophets to mankind who delivered the religion's final revelation.
    His resting place in Medina, Saudi Arabia is visited by millions of Muslims every year and is seen as the second holiest site after the Kaaba, the famous black cubed building in Mecca.
    But it emerged last night that a Saudi academic has put forward contentious plans to have the Prophet's remains moved from the tomb over fears by some scholars that the site is leading to idolatry.

    The tomb of Prophet Mohammad at Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in the holy city of Medina. Proposals to move the Prophet's remains threaten to spark discord across the Muslim world
    The tomb of Prophet Mohammad at Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in the holy city of Medina. Proposals to move the Prophet's remains threaten to spark discord across the Muslim world

    The tomb of the Prophet Muhammad could be moved from the al-Masjid al-Nabawi mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, where it is currently housed, under plans reported today
    The tomb of the Prophet Muhammad could be moved from the al-Masjid al-Nabawi mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, where it is currently housed, under plans reported today

    According to the Independent, a 61-page document has been circulated among the supervisors of the holy site proposing that the Prophet's body be moved to the nearby al-Baqi cemetery, where it would be interred anonymously.
    Dr Irfan al-Alawi, director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, told the newspaper: 'They want to prevent pilgrims from attending and venerating the tomb because they believe this is "shirq", or idolatry.
    'But the only way they can stop people visiting the Prophet is to get him out and into the cemetery.'
     
    Idolatry, known as 'shirq' in the Islamic faith, is the worship of objects or saints and is forbidden in the faith.
    There is no suggestion that Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, who is the site's formal custodian, nor the supervisors of the al-Masjid al-Nabawi mosque which contains the tomb have agreed to the idea.
    The Saudi government has previously insisted it treats the development of holy sites with 'the utmost seriousness'.

    Prophet

    Prophet

     
    It is feared any plans to move the prophet's remains could cause anger among some Muslims in the region
    It is feared any plans to move the prophet's remains could cause anger among some Muslims in the region

    But it is feared the emergence of plans, which spring from a reform movement known as Wahhabism, could divide Muslims, with both Sunnis and Shias thought to be opposed.
    Dr Alawi told the Independent: 'The Prophet Muhammad's grave is venerated by the mainstream Sunni, who would never do it. It is just as important for the Shia too, who venerate the Prophet's daughter, Fatima.
    'I'm sure there will be shock across the Muslim world at these revelations. It will cause outrage.'
    Violence in Iraq and the rise of the radical Isis, or Islamic State, organisation has already strained tensions between Sunnis and Shias in the region.

    'THE TWO SANCTUARIES': ISLAM'S TWO MOST IMPORTANT SITES

    The tomb of the Prophet Muhammad is seen as the second most important site for Muslims after the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
    The Kaaba - which is said to have been built by Abraham - is at the centre of the Grand al-Masjid al-Haram Mosque, which Muslims always face to pray.
    It is religious duty for those who follow the faith to visit the Kaaba at least once during their lifetime.
    Millions of pilgrims gather to circle the building during the hajj, a huge five-day pilgrimage to the site each year.

    The tomb of the Prophet Muhammad is second only to the Kaaba in its importance for the world's Muslims

    Many of those visiting the site also take the opportunity to visit Muhammad's tomb, which about 200miles to the north in Medina.
    The tomb dates back to the seventh century, when Muhammad was buried, and also includes the resting places of early Muslim leaders Abu Bakr and Umar.
    It is covered by a famous Green Dome and includes a community centre, court and religious school. It can hold hundreds of thousands of visitors during the busy hajj.

Monday, July 14, 2014

UK Jewish MP: Israel acting like Nazis in Gaza:

http://youtu.be/qMGuYjt6CP8

10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World


Reality is not as obvious and simple as we like to think. Some of the things that we accept as true at face value are notoriously wrong. Scientists and philosophers have made every effort to change our common perceptions of it. The 10 examples below will show you what I mean.

1. Great glaciation.

Great glaciation is the theory of the final state that our universe is heading toward. The universe has a limited supply of energy. According to this theory, when that energy finally runs out, the universe will devolve into a frozen state. Heat energy produced by the motion of the particles, heat loss, a natural law of the universe, means that eventually this particle motion will slow down and, presumably, one day everything will stop.

2. Solipsism.

Solipsism is a philosophical theory, which asserts that nothing exists but the individual’s consciousness. At first it seems silly – and who generally got it into his head completely deny the existence of the world around us? Except when you put your mind to it, it really is impossible to verify anything but your own consciousness.

Don’t you believe me? Think a moment and think of all the possible dreams that you have experienced in your life. Is it not possible that everything around you is nothing but an incredibly intricate dream? But we have people and things around us that we cannot doubt, because we can hear, see, smell, taste and feel them, right? Yes, and no. People who take LSD, for example, say that they can touch the most convincing hallucinations, but we do not claim that their visions are “reality”. Your dreams simulate sensations as well, after all, what you perceive is what different sections of your brain tell you to.

As a result, which parts of existence can we not doubt? None. Not the chicken we ate for dinner or the keyboard beneath our fingers. Each of us can only be sure in his own thoughts.

3. Idealist Philosophy

George Berkeley, the father of Idealism, argued that everything exists as an idea in someone’s mind. Berkley discovered that some of his comrades considered his theory stupid. The story goes that one of his detractors kicked a stone with his eyes closed and said, “There I’ve disproved it!”

The idea being that if the stone really only exists in his imagination, he could not have kicked it with his eyes closed. Refutation of Berkeley is hard to understand, especially in these days. He argued that there is an omnipotent and omnipresent God, who sees all and all at once. Realistic, or not?

4. Plato and Logos.

Everybody has heard of Plato. He is the world’s most famous philosopher. Like all philosophers he had a few things to say about reality. He argued that beyond our perceived reality there lies a world of “perfect” forms. Everything that we see is just a shade, an imitation of how things truly are. He argued that by studying philosophy we have a chance of catching a glimpse of how things truly are, of discovering the perfect forms of everything we perceive.

In addition to this stunning statement, Plato, being a monist, said that everything is made of a single substance. Which means (according to him) that diamonds, gold and dog feces all consist of the same basic material, but in a different form, which, with science’s discovery of atoms and molecules, has been proven true to an extent.

5. Presentism.

Time is something that we perceive as a matter of course, if we view it at the moment, we usually divide it into past, present and future. Presentism argues that the past and the future are imagined concepts, while only the present is real.

In other words, today’s breakfast and every word of this article will cease to exist after you have read it, until you open it again. The future is just as imaginary, because time cannot exist before and after it happened, as claimed by St. Augustine.

6. Eternalism.

Enternalism is the exact opposite of presentism. This is a philosophical theory that says that time is multi-layered. It can be compared to a pound cake (however, unlike the time, a biscuit is not up for philosophical debate). All time exists simultaneously, but the measurement is determined by the observer. What he sees depends on which point he is looking at.

Thus dinosaurs, World War II and Justin Bieber all exist simultaneously but can only be observed from a specific location. If one takes this view of reality then the future is hopeless and the deterministic free will is illusory.

7. The Brain in a Jar

The “brain in a jar” thought experiment is a question discussed by thinkers and scientists, who, like most people, believe that human’s understanding of reality depends solely on his subjective feelings.

So, what is the debate? Imagine that you are just a brain in a jar that is run by aliens or mad scientists. How would you know? And can you truly deny the possibility that this is your reality?

This is a modern interpretation of the Cartesian evil demon problem. This thought experiment leads to the same conclusion: we cannot confirm the actual existence of anything except our consciousness. If this seems to sound reminiscent of the movie “The Matrix“, it is only because this idea was part of the very basis of the story. Unfortunately, in reality we have no red pills…

8. The Multiverse Theory

Anyone who has not spent the last ten years on a desert island, has at least once heard of “the multiverse”, or parallel universes. As many of us have seen, parallel words, in theory, are worlds very similar to ours, with little (or in some cases, large) changes or differences. The multiverse theory speculates that there could exist an infinite number of these alternate realities.

What's the point? In a parallel reality you have already killed the dinosaurs, and you are lying under the ground at a depth of eight feet (because that's what happened there.) In the other you might be a powerful dictator. In another you might never have even been born since your parents never met. Now that’s a memorable image.

9. Fictional Realism.

This is the most fascinating branch of multiverse theory. Superman is real. Yes, some of you would probably choose a different story, for argument’s sake, Harry Potter might be real too. This branch of the theory argues that given an infinite number of universes, everything must exist somewhere. So, all of our favorite fiction and fantasy may be descriptive of an alternate universe, one where all the right pieces came in to place to make it happen.

10. Phenomenalism.

Everyone is interested in what happens to things when we aren’t looking at them. Scientists have carefully studied this problem and some of them came to a simple conclusion - they disappear. Well, not quite like this. Phenomenalist philosophers believe that objects only exist as a phenomenon of consciousness. So, your laptop is only here while you are aware of, and believe in its existence, but when you turn away from it, it ceases to exist until you or someone else interacts with it. There is no existence without perception. This is the root of phenomenalism.

Source: Learning Mind via Endo Riot & List Verse

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Introduction to Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam

William Henry Quilliam, a local Liverpool solicitor and resident embraced Islam in 1887 (aged 31), after returning from a visit to Morocco, and took on the name Abdullah. He claimed that he was the first native Englishman to embrace Islam. His conversion led to a remarkable story of the growth of Islam in Victorian Britain. This history is now beginning to emerge and has important lessons for Muslims in Britain and around the world.

After embracing Islam, Quilliam began a campaign of Dawah, which in the circumstances of Victorian England, has to be described as the most effective in the UK to date. He became an Alim, an Imam and the most passionate advocate of Islam in the Western world. In 1894 Sultan Abdul Hamid ll (shown on the left), the last Ottoman Caliph, appointed him Sheikh-ul-Islam of the British Isles. The Emir of Afghanistan recognised him as the Sheikh of Muslims in Britain. He was also appointed as the Persian Vice Counsel to Liverpool by the Shah. He became a prominent spokesman for Islam in the media and was recognised by Muslims around the world. He is the only Muslim in Britain to have officially held the position of Sheikh Ul Islam of Britain. He issued many Fatwas in his capacity as appointed Leader of Muslims in Britain. These fatwas are relevant even today.

He established the Mosque and Liverpool Muslim Institute at No. 8 Brougham Terrace and later purchased the remainder of the terrace, and opened a boarding school for boys and a day school for girls. He also opened an orphanage (Medina House) for non-Muslim children whose parents could not look after them, and agreed to for them to be raised in the values of Islam. In addition, the Institute operated educational classes covering a wide range of subjects that were attended by both Muslims and non-Muslims, and included a museum and science laboratory.

In 1893 the Institute published a weekly magazine, named ‘The Crescent’, and later added the monthly ‘Islamic World’, which was printed on the Institute’s own press and distributed to over 20 countries. The Crescent was published every week and was effectively a dairy and record of Islam in Britain and the around the world. There are hundreds of archive copies of these magazines in the British Library. Without this unique weekly record we would not know of the existence of this native Muslim community of around 200 people in Liverpool, and many other parts of Britain. These offer the first attempt at Muslim journalism in the UK and offer a unique insight into a British Muslims view of events and issues in Liverpool, the UK and the Muslim world, at a crucial period of Muslims living under colonial rule.

He also wrote and published a number of books. In particular his “Faith of Islam” had three editions translated into thirteen different languages, and was so popular that Queen Victoria ordered a copy and then re-ordered copies for her grandchildren. The Institute grew, and at the turn of the century held a membership of 200 predominantly English Muslim men, women and children from across the local community. Quilliam’s dawah led to around 600 people in the UK embracing Islam, many of them very educated and prominent individuals in British Society, as well as ordinary men and women. His efforts also led to the first Japanese man embracing Islam.

Quilliam eventually had to leave England after facing hostility and persecution, the first Muslim experience of “Islamophobia” in the UK. He eventually returned to the UK and adopted the name Haroun Mustapha Leon, and passed away in 1932 near Woking, and was buried in Brookfield Cemetery where Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Marmaduke Pickthall and Lord Headly are also buried.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ramadan 101: Ten facts about the holy month of Ramadan

1. What is Ramadan?

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Muslim calendar, is celebrated as the month when the first verses of the Quran were said to be revealed to the prophet Muhammad in 610 CE. Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Power, is thought to be the actual day when the Quran was given to the prophet and usually falls within the last 10 days of the holiday.

2. What is the purpose of Ramadan?

During Ramadan, observers are expected to abstain from food, drink, and other pleasures from dawn to dusk. Removing these comforts from daily routine is intended to focus the mind on prayer, spirituality, and charity and to purify the body and mind. Muslims are also expected to abstain from impurities such as gossip and cursing.

3. Exceptions to the fast

Several different groups are excused from fasting during Ramadan: pregnant women, people who are mentally or physically ill, and sometimes women who are breastfeeding. Children are not obligated to fast until they hit puberty, although many choose to observe the fast at least part of the month in preparation for later years.

Sometimes political factors can also get in the way of the fast. In China, celebrating Ramadan has been banned by the government in Xinjian province, where ethnic Uighurs practice Islam. Last month, tensions between Uighurs and police forces led to widespread riots resulting in the deaths of some 35 people.

4. The start of Ramadan is determined by the moon

The exact start of Ramadan is often up in the air until just before the holiday begins because it is determined by a sighting of the new moon. Many places still depend on someone seeing the new moon with the naked eye in order to declare the holiday. As a result, Ramadan’s start can vary from place to place because of weather conditions and other factors that affect how easily the moon is seen.

5. The date changes every year

Islam functions on a lunar calendar that doesn’t quite line up with the solar Gregorian calendar that the secular world uses. So while Muslim holidays are always the same day on the Muslim calendar, they happen on different days on the Gregorian calendar – typically moving 11 or 12 days earlier each year.

6. A month of big changes

In countries where Muslims are the majority, Ramadan has a drastic impact on daily life. Egypt pushes the clocks back an hour during the holy month so that the fast feels like it is ending earlier and the evenings are lengthened. Work days are made shorter during the month to accommodate the additional time spent in prayer and in enjoying festive meals to end the daily fast.

According to bankers and economists in Muslim countries, Ramadan almost always ushers in a month-long period of inflation as people drastically increase the amount of money spent on clothing and food. The prices of certain staples go up dramatically – according to a former Monitor correspondent in Cairo, during Ramadan a cup of tea can cost six times its normal price. However, economic productivity also declines because of the shorter working hours and the general malaise among those abstaining from food and water all day.

Ironically, many people gain weight during Ramadan. They are more sedentary during the daytime, eat richer food than normal at the fast-breaking iftar meal in the evenings, and get the majority of their daily calories at night, shortly before they go to sleep.

7. Traveling during Ramadan

Though it is the holiest month of the year, Ramadan does not prohibit long-distance travel. Many Muslims will still celebrate even while in transit.

This year the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), anticipating the holiday, issued a statement on its website informing travelers of the increase in religious activities they may see in airports, according to the National Journal. Some of the practices include reciting passages from the Quran, whispering prayers, or performing ablution (the washing of the body).

If a non-Muslim wants to wish a fellow passenger a happy Ramadan, they can say Ramadan Mubarak, which means “have a blessed Ramadan.”

8. Charity is an important part of Ramadan

While most non-Muslims know of Ramadan for the fasting, charity is also an important part of the month long holiday.

Muslims are obliged to give charity on a regular basis in the form of either Zakat, which is mandatory giving, or Sadaqa, which is voluntary and meant to go beyond the mere religious obligations. During Ramadan, the rewards of charity are considered greater. As a result, many Muslims will choose to give more during the month.

9. The Five Pillars of Islam

Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, the practices that all Muslims must follow. They are as follows:

Shahada: This is a profession of belief in the one true God. The declaration usually goes as follows: “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet and servant.”

Salat: Praying five time daily facing the direction of Mecca. Muslims must practice ablution before the prayers.

Zakat: The giving of charity to the poor and needy.

Sawm: Fasting during the month of Ramadan.

Hajj: The pilgrimage to Mecca that each Muslim must make at least once in his or her lifetime.

10. Eid ul Fitr

The end of Ramadan is marked by Eid ul Fitr, a large festival to celebrate the end of the fast. The celebration begins as soon as the new moon is sighted in the sky. During Eid, Muslims celebrate by putting on their best clothing, attending large processions, giving gifts, spending time with their family, and having a large meal during the day. Muslims must also contribute a certain amount to charity so that the poor may also celebrate the breaking of the fast.

Eid ul Fitr is also considered a time of reverance. Muslims praise Allah (God) for helping them get through the month, and ask for forgiveness for the sins they’ve committed.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

But what if…

Salamu alaykom wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

A dear brother and good friend emailed me a very good question. I thought I’d share it to spread the benefit. May Allah reward him:

“It’s extremely difficult to detach oneself from dunya whilst seeking aakhirah, unless you have strong imaan, which is difficult to attain.

Can it be that if one makes a decision solely for aakhira without having strong imaan, that they burn themselves out and thus ruining the decision they had made, therefore making matters even worse than before.

i.e should one act on a whim which is for dunya but not haram, then try to overcome it, because its difficult to know if you have overcome it beforehand?

…hope i made sense…”

So there are a few question or assumptions in this question, lets tackle them one by one:

Is it difficult to detach oneself from dunya ?

It’s as difficult as you make it. That’s not a cop-out answer by the way.

You see, some people will make the decision that it WOULD be nice to detach from dunya without having actually made the decision TO detach. But they kid themselves that they did make that decision and then they wonder why they still have difficulties.

Some reverts, for example, will sacrifice everything – cold turkey – without any ‘side effects’ what-so-ever. Others will make the decision that it would be nice, then act like they’ve made THE decision – they burn out as the brother described it.

There are a few ways in which people try to detach from dunya:

Theory 1: leaving it physically, so they go to monasteries or caves and they ‘meditate’.
This isn’t really detaching from dunya. It’s removing oneself from it.
It’s escaping the stimulus of dunya.
When they return, guess what ? Same old dunya ! AND Same old person !

Theory 2: staying with it physically but cutting it out completely
This is much closer to detachment than the first type
They won’t physically escape their surroundings, but they’ll reject dunya
A lot of homeless people fit into this category – though not all
This is where they shun everything whilst being within society
They only buy or own what they need – the bear minimum

Theory 3: where they are in society, they acquire dunya but it isn’t in their hearts
so they don’t escape civilisation to go to the mountains
and they don’t shun materialism whilst remaining in civilisation also
instead… they see life for what it is. A tool for the acquirement of akhirah
This one is as per the sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh)

Do you need strong Iman to be able to do so ?

I know of people that have detached from dunya that are not even Muslims ! And it’s important to note that whether you’re attached or not is not the sign of ultimate success: Islam, Iman and Ihsan are. (bear minimum being Islam)

It does help to know that there is something infinitely better coming though.

Can one burn themselves out if they over stretch ?

OK… well, now here’s where it gets interesting:

If you follow detachment theory 1 – it’s a game of will power, it’s a little easier because once you’re out there, you get used to it, you’ve got other ‘monks’ with you etc.

If you follow detachment theory 2 – it’s also a game of will power and it’s significantly harder than theory 1 because the stimulus is still present.

If you follow detachment theory 3 – the way of the sunnah, then you detach bit by bit. And it’s true detachment.

Theory 1 and 2 are a rejection of dunya… they are not a detachment from it.

Theory 3 is the only real way of detaching – actually detaching dunya from your heart. With theory 3, a person could be bribed, you could attempt to seduce them, to entice them… it wouldn’t work !

If theory 3 is done properly, releasing one whim at a time, then you will not burn out – EVER. insha Allah. The reason being, each time you detach, you become more free. You have more power to carry on.

With theories 1 and 2, with each thing you resist from dunya, you build up the temptations, you build up the ‘enemies’ that could potentially kill you whilst you’re not looking or at a moment of weakness.

Is it better to take it one step at a time, than to just make one big monumental decision ?

Both. You need to make the monumental decision that you want to be free. Then… one step at a time, you need to release your whims as you go along.

You won’t be able to release them unless you’ve taken the monumental decision, because you need a driver, an aim, an objective.

I hope this clarifies and explains things insha Allah :-)

NOW… to take this even further:

This question is one that almost everyone that hopes to tread this path asks themselves. If not outright, then a nagging feelings unsettles them. So lets analyse what whims this question represents.

Firstly, there’s a whim for security. You’re afraid of failure. It’s a threat. You’re also afraid of your own nafs – the possible back-lash !

Secondly, there’s a whim for control. You haven’t mastered your nafs enough to know how to control it. One of the things that I teach in “Whims-I-Kill Pro” is that you need to test your nafs after you release. YOU find out if you have released the whim, you don’t leave it to chance only then to be disappointed. That would be a lack of control.

Thirdly, you still want to approve of dunya.” It’s not all that bad, if it’s not haram, then surely I can dabble in it a little. It’s not so bad !”

Ironically, once you’ve detached from dunya… you will approve of it even more. You will know it for what it is worth. Up until then, it will continue to disappoint you – which is the opposite of approval.

There’s more to say, but that’s enough for now :-)

—–

I thought that I should share this question because we are only a couple of daysishs away from the month of Ramadan. The month where, if you want to take that monumental decision, well that’s the best time !

Monday, June 23, 2014

Social Media Mass Surveillance is Allowed in UK

The officials have officially confirmed the true extent of the government’s interception of social networks, including private messages between citizens. It was confirmed that searches on Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and exchange of emails abroad can be monitored by the local security services.
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British government has finally admitted that communication of its citizens in private channels like Twitter direct messages are considered as legitimate targets that can be intercepted without a warrant.

The document representing defence of mass monitoring developed a legal interpretation,
provoking calls for the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to be overhauled urgently and the allegations that the authorities are exploiting loopholes in the law of which parliament was unaware.

The paper was released in response to a case brought by civil rights groups before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which deals with complaints against the intelligence services. The case was launched in the wake of revelations from Edward Snowden about the monitoring program dubbed Tempora operated by the British monitoring agency GCHQ. This program taps into the network of fiber-optic cables that carry the phone calls and online traffic worldwide, recording up to 600 million phone events daily.

According to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, traditional interception of internal communications within the country requires an individual warrant. The authorities argue that in a technologically-fast moving world, identifying individual targets before monitoring is too difficult. The external one, in the meantime, can be monitored without an individual warrant. The document explains that searches on social networks involve communicating with a web-based platform abroad, and are therefore external communications, not internal. Emails sent or received from abroad could also be intercepted in such a way.

The statement also points out that the issue was raised during the passage of the law a decade ago, implying that parliament knew about the difficulty of distinguishing between internal and external communications when it passed the bill.

Indeed, the Section 8 of the law reads that the internal communications between UK residents within the UK may only be monitored pursuant to a specific warrant, and if there’s a reason to suspect the individual in unlawful activity. But external communications may be monitored indiscriminately under a general warrant.

UK Economists Recommend to Replace Pound with Bitcoin

Professor of finance and economics at Durham University recommended the United Kingdom to privatize the pound and replace it with a cryptocurrency. He says that Bitcoin is not the first example of private money, but the cryptocurrency is the first one that governments are unable to shut down. In result, the authorities should admit that Bitcoin is here to stay, and allow competition between the alternative forms of money.
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This suggestion might include allowing taxes to be paid in Bitcoin or Dogecoin, or even fully privatizing the national currency. The economist placed Bitcoin at the pinnacle of a historical trend of government crackdowns on its citizens’ attempts to create private money. It is known that the creators of physical and electronic currency both ended up in court, the former being accused of counterfeiting, and the latter of money laundering. However, those charges were politically-motivated protectionism. Since Bitcoin is decentralized, it is harder to crack down on through the court system. If cryptocurrency does become popular, the governments will have to deal with it some other way.

However, the creators of cryptocurrencies realize that there's a lot of standing in their way before they reach that success. After all, to displace existing national currency they not only have to perform the basic functions of money better that state money, they also need qualities that transcend the way in which state money works.

The advocates of Bitcoin believe that those qualities come in the form of protection from inflation. Indeed, the cryptocurrency will only ever have 21 million coins created to make sure that it will always hold its value. On the other hand, its critics render the Bitcoin economy prone to deflationary slumps.

For some, those qualities come from the purely digital nature of the currency. They describe it as the financial equivalent of the worldwide web, saying that the Internet was a new way to transmit data, just like Bitcoin was a new way to transmit money. Of course, this process will take a long time, but it is a big opportunity. The economist explains that money is a very important issue, so if you can build a new way to deal with it, it's very valuable though time-consuming.


South Korea and EU Will Develop 5G Together

South Korea and the European Union agreed to cooperate on developing 5G wireless network technologies and are expected to come up with a global consensus on standards. The countries have finally come to a conclusion on the need for a harmonized radio spectrum policy in order to ensure global interoperability of 5G networks, along with global technical standards.
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The parties will also collaborate with the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, a group of telcom standards organizations, as well as with the International Telecommunication Union that sets global policies for spectrum use. The European Union and South Korea have decided to form a joint research and development group and cooperate on developing ICT services for the cloud and the Internet of Things, apart from many other areas.

This move was supposed to ensure a globally agreed definition and standard for 5G telecommunication networks in the future. The Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda arrived in Seoul a few days ago to sign the agreement, saying that the move would certainly speed up and make sure that the European Union wins the global race to create 5G network. Earlier in 2014, the Commission set 2020 as the goal to introduce 5G networks across Europe.

The new agreement would see the European Union and South Korea launching jointly funded research projects in two years. As for South Korea, the country is planning core 5G wireless technologies to be ready in time for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, while the world’s first 5G network services are expected to be introduced by 2020.

Of course, these plans put Samsung into the spotlight, as the company has already successfully tested technologies considered key to 5G back in 2013. The country’s major carriers SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus are currently fighting for the right to become the first 5G network provider.


Cheap Chinese Smartphone Carries Built-in Malware

Star N9500, a Chinese Android smartphone, which can be bought on Amazon, eBay and from other online retailers, has been found to contain a built-in trojan that pretends to be the Google Play Store. The smartphone closely resembles Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and is manufactured in China. The device is sold online through resellers in Belfast and Hong Kong.
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The virus, known as “Uupay.D”, pretends to be the Google Play Store and comes pre-installed on the device, so that the user can’t remove it. One of the German security companies analyzed the smartphone purchased directly from the factory in China.

The trojan steals personal data from the device and sends it to an anonymous server in China. Moreover, it can install additional apps or malware without your knowledge. The experts admit that the options with this spy malware are almost unlimited. Users see nothing else than an app with the Google Play Store icon in the running processes. The malware allows the criminals to track your location, intercept and record phone calls, make purchases and send text messages. Finally, it could be used to break into online banking and similar services.

In the meantime, users are likely to be oblivious to the fact that their cheap and cool device could be stealing their information and live its own life, rating the smartphone five stars on Amazon and other online stores. You can buy Star N9500 across Europe two or three times cheaper than comparable devices from other manufacturers. Of course, the device has sold in the hundreds.

The security experts think that the low price of a device is a criminal tactic to entice users. The criminals may make money from the sale of stolen personal information. In is unclear at what stage the malware is introduced, but the buyers should beware in any case. Although very cheap offers online must make buyers suspicious, for some reason they don’t.

The statistics say that Android accounted for 97% of the malware targeted at mobile devices in 2013, which shows an increase of 20% from 2012. However, the Google Play Store, which is pre-installed on all Google Android devices, can only be blamed for 0.1% of the malware, because the majority of malware is downloaded by the users from third-party app stores like Chinese Baidu and Anzhi. Why do people go there? Just because access to Google Play is restricted in the country.

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