Nelson Freire gives an electrifying performance of the Liszt sonata in B minor at the University of Maryland in 1982


Franz Liszt (October 22, 1811 – July 31, 1886) was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher. Liszt became renowned throughout Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age and perhaps the greatest pianist of all time. He was also a well-known composer, piano teacher, and conductor who contributed significantly to the modern development of the art. He was a benefactor to other composers, including Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz, Camille Saint-Saëns, Edvard Grieg and Alexander Borodin. wikipedia


Beijing: A Tibetan nun has set herself on fire in western China, the latest in a series of self-immolations among the region's Buddhist clergy, an advocacy group said Tuesday. In a separate incident, security forces shot two Tibetans during a protest outside a police station, London-based Free Tibet reported. The two incidents could not immediately be independently confirmed Tuesday, although tensions have been high across the region since widespread anti-government protests in 2008. Communist government officials gave no comment when contacted.

Free Tibet said the nun, 20-year-old Tenzin Wangmo, died after setting herself on fire Monday outside Dechen Chokorling nunnery in Sichuan province's Aba prefecture where a number of other self-immolations have taken place this year. The group said she chanted slogans as she set herself alight calling for greater religious freedom and the return of Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama.

The two men shot Sunday in Sichuan's Garze prefecture, identified as Dawa and Druklo, were taken away by area residents and their conditions were unknown, Free Tibet said. Many Tibetans use just one name. Although there is no tradition of self-immolation as a form of protest in Tibetan society, a total of nine monks and nuns have set themselves on fire since March in what are considered desperate acts to draw attention to repression of Tibetan Buddhism. newsbullet
Stop Syria's horror hospitals

The Syrian regime has reached a new low -- its death squads are using ambulances and hospitals to lure and kill wounded protesters. But Russia, Syria's key backer and arms supplier, could bring an end to this carnage.

There are two governments that can influence Russia -- Turkey and Germany -- both of them support the Syrian democracy protesters and have strong ties with Russia. If we call on them to act now, they could weigh in behind mounting regional pressure and push Russian President Medvedev to stop propping up this brutal regime and help urgent global action.

Syria's horror hospitals are the latest in a string of unspeakable crimes against peaceful protesters. So far, Russia has faced little condemnation for its complicity in these atrocities, but we can change that. Let's build a massive petition to Merkel and Erdogan now to speak out and work with the Arab League to stop the brutality. Sign now, and share this with everyone -- it will be delivered to their Foreign Ministries this week. avaaz


24 dead after Coptic church protest

At least 24 people have been killed and more than 200 wounded in the worst violence since Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February. bbc

The constitution states that Islam is the official state religion, and the doctrine followed is that of Ja'afari (Twelver) Shiism. The constitution provides that "other Islamic denominations are to be accorded full respect," while the country's pre-Islamic religious groups -- Zoroastrians, Christians, and Jews -- are recognized as "protected" religious minorities. The fourth article of the constitution states that all laws and regulations must be based on Islamic criteria an official interpretation of Sharia (Islamic Law).
Government rhetoric and actions created a threatening atmosphere for nearly all non-Shia religious groups, most notably for Bahais, as well as Sufi Muslims, evangelical Christians, Jews, and Shia groups that do not share the government's official religious views. Reports of government imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on religious beliefs continued during the reporting period. Bahai religious groups reportedarbitrary arrest and prolonged detention, expulsions from universities, and confiscation of property.

During the reporting period government-controlled broadcast and print media intensified negative campaigns against religious minorities, particularly the Bahais. All non-Shia religious minorities suffered varying degrees of officially sanctioned discrimination, particularly in the areas of employment, education, and housing. scribd

Iranian actress sentenced to 90 lashes

An Iranian actress has been sentenced to 90 lashes and a year in prison for starring in a film that shows artistic repression in the country, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Marzieh Vafamehr was arrested in July and received her sentence at the weekend.

In the 2009 film, ‘My Tehran for Sale’, Vafamehr plays an actress whose work is banned by authorities and is forced to lead a secret life to express herself artistically.

Vafamehr often appears with a shaved head and no headscarf, and there are scenes of drug use in the film, according to Iranian opposition website kalameh.com. yahoo

Court upholds sentence against Jafar Panahi

TEHRAN: A Tehran appeals court has upheld a six-year jail sentence and 20-year filmmaking and travel ban against international award-winning Iranian director Jafar Panahi, his family told AFP on Saturday.

The verdict, handed down around two weeks ago, has not yet been carried out, the family said.

The government-run newspaper Iran confirmed the ruling in its Saturday edition, saying: "The charges he was sentenced for are acting against national security and propaganda against the regime." thenews
Italy's inconclusive justice

There's barely one iconic crime from the post-war years that has persuaded the country that, yes, justice has been done: the murder of Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Ustica crash, the Bologna railway station bombing, the Piazza Fontana atrocity, the Monster of Florence murders, the murder of Luigi Calabresi, the "caso Cogne" … none has ever been satisfactorily, convincingly resolved. Instead the country seems to split into innocentisti and colpevolisti (those who believe in the innocence or guilt of the accused) and the heated debates continue for decades. guardian

Note: in Portugal my teacher Padre Max was killed (April 2 - 1976) by a sofisticated (for the 70's) bomb engine and no one was found guilty. It was the Right (of course) - because they never accepted a priest of the catholic church to be in an far-left political party - but the Right had very known faces.
Empathic Dialogue

“It is time for us to greet each other not only as a standard salutation but should be meant as a sincere prayer, recognition and respect of faith, and manifestation of a person’s religious identity. Say assalamu’alaikum (peace be with you) to Muslims. Say shalom (peace) to Christians. Say namo Buddhaya (I pay homage to the Buddha) or namaste (I bow to you) to followers of Buddhism. Say om swastiastu (May We be Under His Protection) to Hindus. And the same goes for the believers of other faiths.” islamlib
Youcef Nadarkhani Refuses to Recant

Yousef is from Rasht, Gilan. He is pastor for a network of Christian house churches. He is married to Fatemah Pasindedih, and they have two children, ages 8 and 6.

Yousef was first imprisoned in December 2006, on the charges of apostasy from and evangelism to Muslims. He was released two weeks later, without being charged.

In 2009, Yousef discovered a recent change in Iranian educational policy that forced all students, including his children, to read from the Qur'an. After Youcef heard about this change, he went to the school and protested, based on the fact that the Iranian constitution guarantees freedom to practice religion. His protest was reported to the police, who arrested him and placed him before a tribunal on October 12, 2009, on charges of protesting.

The charges were later changed to apostasy and evangelism, the same charges he was initially arrested under in 2006. On September 21–22, 2010, Youcef appeared before the 11th Chamber of The Assize Court of the province of Gilan and sentenced to death for the charge of apostasy. Yousef's lawyer, Nasser Sarbaz, claims there were numerous procedural errors during Yousef's trial.

After conviction Youcef was transferred to a prison for political prisoners, and denied all access to his family and attorney. The delivery of Youcef's written verdict was delayed by Iran's security officials. Christians believe the delay in execution is an attempt by Iran's secret police to force Youcef to recant Christianity. wikipedia