February 2016 ~ THE HAIPHONG POST - Breaking News of World

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Monday, February 29, 2016

Top 10 Countries - Germany Military Strength


Germany has become a leader in European politics while also commanding its strongest economy.

Germany
Ranked asof 126
Power Index rating of 0.3507 (0 being perfect)

Top 10 Countries - Turkey Military Strength


Turkey joins China and India in attempting to become a large scale military supplier through several high profile ongoing development programs.

Turkey
Ranked as 10 of 126
Power Index rating of 0.4339 (0 being perfect)

In drills, U.S., South Korea practice striking North’s nuclear plants, leaders

A South Korean amphibious assault vehicle, left, moves to a landing ship as a South Korean submarine, center, is seen from the southeastern port of Pohang on March 7. (AFP via Getty Images)

 The United States and South Korea kicked off major military exercises on Monday, including rehearsals of surgical strikes on North Korea’s main nuclear and missile facilities and “decapitation raids” by special forces targeting the North’s leadership.

Should Indonesia Abolish the Death Penalty Law for Drug Criminals?

Meth bust by Indonesia's National Narcotics Agency (BNN)
Meth bust by Indonesia's National Narcotics Agency (BNN)
Indonesia, following President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's anti-drug campaign, executed a total of 14 drug dealers in January and April of last year.

The rise in the number of drug users in Indonesia had led civil society organizations to urge the government to abolish death penalty against drug dealers.

Their suggestions were based on the data provided by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), which showed that there is an increasing number of drug users in Indonesia, from 4.2 million people in June 2015 to 5.9 million people in November 2015.

The fact could suggest that the death penalty law for drug-related crime is not quite effective to curb drug use and drug smugglings in Indonesia. This is according to leaders of civil society organizations who attended a discussion forum about drug trafficking issues at the office of Komnas HAM in Jakarta as reported by Kompas.com.

Besides Komnas HAM executives, also attending the meeting were representatives of other civil society organizations like Universitas Indonesia's Indonesian Judicial Watch Society (MAPPI) and the Setara Institute. Among the attendants were senior officials of BNN, the National Police (Polri) and the Army Strategic Command (Kostrad).

Indonesia, following President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's anti-drug campaign, executed a total of 14 drug dealers in January and April of last year. They included 2 Indonesian nationals. The President repetitively said he would not show mercy for drug smugglers.

The executions took place despite mounting pressures from within Indonesia and various parties in the international community that President Jokowi give clemency to drug convicts in death row.

In last Friday's discussion forum, Nur Kholis, an executive of the National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM), said, "Punishment (against drug dealers) could take the form of life sentence or others."

Meanwhile, Setara Institute chairman Hendrardi said on a separate occasion that it was so ridiculous to see the government's failure to rid prisons and detention centers of drug trafficking practices.

In the meeting at Komnas HAM, BNN head Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso admitted the illegal widespread use of narcotics in Indonesia. Even government workers and law enforcement personnel had been implicated in drug use and trafficking. The 2-star police general suggested that the punishment meted out to these people should be harsher than those given to others.

The discussion at Komnas HAM followed early last week's arrest of a House member, 19 personnel of the Army Strategic Command (Kostrad), 5 police officers and 8 civilians. All these people had been suspected of using drug and their names were found on a list of alleged drug buyers at the Kostrad command in Tanah Kusir, The Jakarta Post reported.

In response to the arrest, Kostrad Headquarters in Central Jakarta last Friday conducted urine tests for its personnel.

Source: globalindonesianvoices.com, Feb. 27, 2016

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

ISIS militants stone to death 2 teenage girls over alleged adultery

Reading out a death sentence in Raqqa, Syria on Feb. 23, 2016
IS militant reading out a death sentence in Raqqa, Syria, on Feb. 23, 2016
Two teenage girls accused of committing adultery have been stoned to death by Islamic State militants in Syria. 

Hasna, 17, and Madiha, 16, died after the assault in Deir ez-Zor city, eastern Syria.

The 2 men they were with, identified by the Sharia Court as Abu Zubair al-Idlbi and Maher Hameed, escaped with 50 lashes in a public flogging.

The Islamic State-led Sharia Court released a statement claiming the girls were seized in a house "with 2 strangers" - an act strictly forbidden under Islamic State's twisted interpretation of Islam. 

"The victims were accused of committing adultery with 2 older men, identified by the Sharia Court as Abu Zubair al-Idlbi and Maher Hameed," the source reported.

Local media activist Ahmed Ramadan told ARA News: "The execution took place in the Hamidiya district of Deir ez-Zor on Tuesday afternoon, where hundreds of people gathered to witness the stoning of the 2 young girls. The decision of the Sharia Court raised the anger of Deir ez-Zor's residents, who considered it unfair to kill the two girls by stoning and merely flog the men and set them free."

A fortnight ago, 4 women were raped by Islamic State fighters and then stoned to death after being accused of "committing adultery." 

The victims were arrested even though Islamic State militants were said to have caught them being abused during a raid in the city of Mosul. 

They were brought before a Sharia court that ordered them to be publicly executed without giving any details about their alleged abusers.

Source: Business Insider, Feb. 27, 2016

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Virginia: Ricky Gray's execution put on hold until Supreme Court weighs in

Ricky Gray
Ricky Gray
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Convicted murderer Ricky Gray's execution is now on hold so the Supreme Court can weigh in on his case.

An order filed in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday put the March 16 execution on hold until the Supreme Court could decide whether to intervene.

Gray was sentenced to death in connection with the 2006 New Year’s Day quadruple murders of the Harvey family in Richmond. 

In December, he petitioned to have his death penalty case reviewed by all 15 federal appeals court judges in Richmond. He remains housed on death row at Sussex I State Prison.

Along with the legal maneuvering are concerns Virginia does not currently have all the drugs needed for a lethal injection. 

The Department of Corrections says it does not have the first drug needed, which can be Midazolam or Pentobarbital or Thiopental Sodium. 

Gray does have the option to select electrocution instead.

He was set to be executed at Greensville Correctional Center. At least six citizens who are not Department of Correction employees must be present during an execution, with the method of death chosen by the inmate.

Alfredo R. Prieto was the last inmate put to death in Virginia, on Oct. 1, 2015.

During that time, state officials had to acquire the lethal injection drugs from Texas. Jason Clark, the Director of Public Information with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, stated there are no plans to provide lethal injection drugs to Virginia.

Clark pointed out that in 2013 the Virginia Department of Corrections gave his agency pentobarbital to use as a backup drug in an execution. His agency was approached in 2015 by Virginia officials and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice reciprocated, giving them three vials of pentobarbital.

According to the most recent reports from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a death row inmate waits an average of 137 months between sentencing and execution. Since 1977, Virginia has had 110 executions. 79 of those were done by lethal injection, 31 by electrocution. Under state law, the inmate must request electrocution, and can do so up until 15 days before the execution date.

Gray's death sentence was specifically for the murders of Stella and Ruby Harvey, daughters of Bryan and Kathryn Harvey, who were also killed with the help of Ray Dandridge. A week later, Percyell Tucker, his wife Mary and their daughter, Ashley Baskerville, who was an accomplice in the Harveys' murder, were also killed.

Dandridge is serving a life sentence.

Source: WWBT NBC12, Feb. 26, 2016

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Iran: A prisoner hanged, 3 dozen death verdicts issued in run-up to elections

The Iranian regime's henchmen in the main prison of the northern city of Gorgan secretly hanged a 52-year-old man who had been arrested on drug-related charges.

The Iranian regime's judiciary has recently confirmed death sentences for at least 40 prisoners that are being held in Gezel-Hessar Prison in Karaj, north-west of Tehran. Most of the prisoners had asked for their cases to be reviewed but their death sentence were confirmed within 1-2 days and they were informed of the final verdicts on Sunday.

In the run-up to the sham elections in Iran, Iran's clerical regime has intensified issuing death sentences, handing down long prison terms and carrying out cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments in public.

Amnesty International said in its yearly report on violations of human rights in Iran: "The authorities continued to use the death penalty extensively, and carried out numerous executions, including of juvenile offenders. Some executions were conducted in public."

"Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common and was committed with impunity; prison conditions were harsh. Unfair trials continued, in some cases resulting in death sentences."

"Women and members of ethnic and religious minorities faced pervasive discrimination in law and in practice. The authorities carried out cruel punishments, including blinding, amputation and floggings. Courts imposed death sentences for a range of crimes; many prisoners, including at least 4 juvenile offenders, were executed."

"Courts continued to impose, and the authorities continued to carry out, punishments that violate the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. These were sometimes carried out in public and included flogging, blinding and amputations. On 3 March the authorities in Karaj deliberately blinded a man in his left eye after a court sentenced him to 'retribution-in-kind' (qesas) for throwing acid into the face of another man. He also faced blinding of his right eye."

Source: NCRI, Feb. 26, 2016

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Member of Indonesia's parliament tweets that gays should be put to death

Tifatul Sembiring
Tifatul Sembiring
Tifatul Sembiring later takes down tweet amid criticism

In the latest incident of anti-gay rhetoric in Indonesia, a member of Parliament from the Islamist Prosperous Justice Party posted on Twitter that gays should be put to death.

Tifatul Sembiring, who is the country’s former Information and Communications Minister, tweeted: ‘A saying of the Prophet [Mohamed]: Whomever you find committing the acts of the community of Lot (homosexual) should be put to death.’

After he received criticism from others online, Sembiring deleted the tweet from his account, according to BuzzFeed News.

Anti-gay rhetoric has been on the rise in the Southeast Asian country. 

Earlier this week, Indonesia’s leading psychiatric body classified homosexuality and gender dysphoria mental disorders that can be cured with proper treatment.

The World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders in 1970.

Gay sex is not a crime in Indonesia but remains taboo in many parts the Muslim-majority.

Also this week, Indonesia’s minister of defense said the LGBTI movement was more dangerous than nuclear warfare.

And in January, the minister of research, technology and higher education called for LGBTI students to be banned from universities.

Source: Gay Star News, Greg Hernandez, Feb. 27, 2016


Indonesian psychiatrists label LGBT as mental disorders

The leading Indonesian psychiatric body has classified homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism as mental disorders, which it says can be cured through proper treatment.

Indonesian Psychiatrists Association (PDSKJI) member Suzy Yusna Dewi said that most of the time, the aforementioned sexual tendencies were triggered by external factors, such as the influence of a person's social environment, and therefore they could be healed through psychiatric treatment.

"We really do care about them. What we are worried about is, if left untreated, such sexual tendencies could become a commonly accepted condition in society," Suzy told thejakartapost.com on Tuesday.

She made comments about the association’s recent statement to address rising concerns about the growing prominence of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, which has drawn sharp criticism from government and religious leaders.

Referring to Law No.18/2014 on Mental Health and the association’s Mental Health and Mental Disorder Diagnostic Guidelines, the PDSKJI categorizes homosexuals and bisexuals as “people with psychiatric problems”, while transgender people have “mental disorders”.

According to this classification, a psychiatric problem is condition in which a person is at risk of developing a mental disorder.

A person with mental disorder will develop physical symptoms and behavior that may affect their welfare and social functioning.

The PDSKJI said that psychiatric problems of homosexuals and bisexuals and mental disorders of transgender people had nothing to do with schizophrenia or other conditions such as intersex , or an anomaly in a person's genetic or chromosomal makeup.

Commenting on the issue of homosexuality and bisexuality, Suzy said there was not enough data to support the idea that the conditions were caused by biological factors, adding that limiting inappropriate social interaction could be effective in curbing such abnormal sexual tendencies.

The psychiatrist further said proper interventions were crucial in curing psychiatric problems and mental disorders. She said that a person's sexual appetite was a mental issue similar in nature to drug addiction.

“Without constant intervention, a person can easily return to their previous sexual tendency once he or she experiences withdrawal,” Suzy said.

She stressed the importance of upholding national values and norms. “We must respect Indonesian traditions, which culturally do not accept same-sex marriage, and we should not bow to the influence of foreign values that may not fit in with our values,” said Suzy.

On May 17, 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders.

In support of WHO’s stance, Chatarina Wahyurini of the Indonesia Planned Parenthood Association (PKBI) said her organization recognized the existence of people with different orientations and did not view them as having disorders.

Referring to its stance on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, Wahyurini said the PKBI called for an end to discrimination of minority groups. She urged the government to take a more serious approach to providing protection and security to every citizen regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Repeating what was stated in a press statement released by the PKBI on Monday, Wahyurini referred to Indonesia’s national ideology, Pancasila, which she said guaranteed and protected diversity. The 1945 Constitution also protects the right of every Indonesian citizen to be protected from any form of discrimination.

Wahyurini said the LGBT community should have equal access to public services and space needed to freely express their identity, participate in dialogue and to contribute to the nation in a positive manner.

Source: thejakartapost.com, Liza Yosephine, February 24 2016


Indonesian clerics declare LGBT groups haram

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) announced on Wednesday that it considered individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) to be haram, in the wake of recent controversy surrounding LGBT communities across the country.

The MUI, along with several other Islamic organizations, declared that the existence of LGBT communities was against the Constitution and against religious norms.

"The opinion is based on LGBT activities prohibited by Islam," MUI chairman Ma'ruf Amin said at a press conference at the MUI office in Jakarta on Wednesday, as quoted by kompas.com.

LGBT activities were against the national ideology of Pancasila, the Constitution and the 1974 Marriage Law, he said.

Furthermore, the MUI issued a fatwa in 2014 stating that homosexuality, sodomy and sexual assault were haram

"LGBT activities could also cause dangerous and infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS," he said.

LGBT issues came into the spotlight after Research and Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir made a controversial statement banning LGBT groups from university campuses. His statement was made in response to a student organization at the University of Indonesia named the Support Group and Resource Center on Sexuality Studies (SGRC) that offered counselling for LGBT students.

Source: thejakartapost.com, Feb. 17, 2016

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Can Alabamians afford the specter of 16 or more scheduled executions in a row?

A March 25, 2014 article from the Associated Press quotes Alabama Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw saying that 16 death row inmates "have exhausted [all] appeals and are awaiting execution." Today, the exact number among the 185 inmates on Alabama's death row whose last remaining hope is clemency is unknown. However, even following the execution of Christopher Brooks on January 21, the number of inmates "out of court," with no further avenues of appeal, is at least 16, and it may be higher. This means that anytime it wants, the AG's office can, following the 2 year moratorium on executions that officially ended with Mr. Brooks, ask the courts to schedule 16 or more executions in a row.

The question is: Whatever personal beliefs Alabamians hold on the morality of the death penalty, is the scheduled killing of 16 or more people - one right after the other - a risk worth subjecting Alabama's fragile economy to?

Consider the steady drumbeat of publicized death and denunciations from around the United States and the world that would result, with the possibility, each time, of a gruesome botch, like the infamous Oklahoma execution of Clayton Lockett on April 29, 2014. Generating an avalanche of negative press abroad, reporters witnessing Lockett's execution said he "writhed, groaned, and convulsed" taking 43 minutes to die.

Imagine 16 or more potential Lockett-like executions lined up - like ducks in a row - in Alabama. Picture the accompanying emotional baggage with each detail about the condemned, the crimes of which they were convicted, and the nitty gritty of each of their executions painstakingly picked through by the press . . . . How much negative publicity would Alabama see as a result? How much condemnation from foreign countries who abhor the death penalty would it reap - countries whose investment dollars Alabama's slowly rebuilding economy depends upon?

A June 2014 article by Michael Tomberlin titled, "Alabama, Birmingham benefit from growing levels of foreign direct investment," noted that "[the 5 top source countries of companies investing in Birmingham as a percent of jobs are Germany (14 %), Japan (12.9) Canada (11), Spain (8.8) and France (7.7)." Furthermore, "[t]he 5 leading source countries companies investing in Alabama as a % of the jobs are Germany (16.2 %), Japan (13.5), Republic of Korea (9.6), England (8.6) and Canada (7.5)." That means just a little less than 2 years ago, at least 41.5 % of foreign investment in Birmingham came from foreign countries that long ago abolished the death penalty and, at least 32.3 % of foreign investment in all of Alabama, likewise, came from abolitionist countries.

In addition to the already well-documented costs of capital punishment then - to Alabamians' morals, the judicial system and taxes (see the Equal Justice Initiative's website for detailed studies and support on all these) - can Alabama really risk ramping executions up when doing so will offend, even alienate, so many potential foreign investors - not to mention the Pope?

The University of Alabama's Center for Business and Economic Research is already predicting slow growth for Alabama's economy in 2016, and so, even if folks don't care so much about what foreigners think of Alabama's refusal to, as the New York Times Editorial Board put it on January 16, "join the rest of the civilized world and end the death penalty," don't Alabamians at least want those foreign dollars? Isn't it great that foreign companies like Mercedes-Benz and Airbus have chosen to invest in Alabama? Wouldn't it be awful if the state's rekindled lust for executions drove them, and foreign companies like them, away?

We already know Europeans hate the death penalty by their refusal to ship lethal injection drugs to the US and, just recently, after Saudi Arabia held mass executions, it was reported on January 15 by Eve Hartley of the Huffington Post that, "the brutal Saudi justice system [had] strain[ed] relations between" Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

Putting aside all the very many good reasons already advanced to end the death penalty, isn't the most obvious in Alabamians' wallets? Is there really so much green in there already that accelerating - instead of taking immediate steps now to end the death penalty - is worth it?

Source: al.com, Stephen Cooper, Feb. 19, 2016. Mr. Cooper is a former D.C. public defender and worked as an Assistant Federal Defender in Montgomery, Alabama between 2012 and 2015, where he represented death row inmates.

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Iran Supreme Court Confirms Death Sentence Of Juvenile Offender

Iran does execute juvenile offenders
Iran does execute juvenile offenders
The death sentence of Himan Ouraminejad who was charged with murder as a juvenile, has been confirmed in the Supreme Court and is waiting for the permission of head of judiciary to be executed.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Himan Ouraminejad is charged with the murder of another juvenile in a fight in Sanandaj.

Himan Ouraminejad is born in 1994 and by the time that he committed the crime in 2010, he was under 18.

According to article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code, when the individual is under 18 or do not understand the nature of the crime, or the growth of their brain could be questioned, the death retribution will not be applied.

According to an informed source, the forensic has just asked him few questions and the actual scientific tests were not carried out about Himan Ouraminejad.

The death sentence of this juvenile offenders will be executed after the permission of the head of judiciary and the refusal of consent by the victim's family.

Himan Ouraminejad is currently being kept in Sanandaj prison.

Source: Human Rights Activists News Agency, Feb. 20, 2016

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

China Military Strength


The Chinese military-industrial complex continues to promote its technological gains while increasing its military strength through show-of-force initiatives.

Iran defends its capital punishment in Europe

Public hanging in Iran, a medieval and barbaric punishment
Iran, faith-based medieval and barbaric punishments
Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, his country's Iran's capital punishment law at the European parliament on Tuesday, saying Iran mostly executes drug smugglers.

The remarks came in Brussels when lawmakers criticized the increasing number of death sentences in Iran.

Zarif also blamed Europe for their "lack of support" to help Iran control the flow of drugs to European countries.

"The European Union has accused Iran of human rights violations and banned the export of technical tools that would be used to combat the drug trade," Zarif told European lawmakers, according to BBC Persian.

The number of executions in Iran has sharply increased in recent years. At least 687 people were put to death in 2013, compared to 99 people in 2004.

Human rights activists worry that the nuclear deal with Iran and the country's increasing economic and trade relations with Europe may take the spotlight off its human rights record.

In a report in late 2015 the UN General Assembly condemned the human rights situation in Iran.

The report indicated that execution rates in Iran have rapidly increased and that 694 people were executed in Iran in 2015.

This is the highest number of executions in the country since the Iran-Iraq War, Ahmed Shaheed, the special UN rapporteur for human rights in Iran, told Rudaw at that time.

Source: rudaw.net, Feb. 18, 2016

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Top 10 Coutries - United States of America Military Strength



United States of America
Ranked as 1 of 126 Countries
Power Index rating of 0.1663 (0 being perfect)

1. MANPOWER

 Going beyond military equipment totals and perceived fighting strength is the actual manpower that drives a given military. Wars of attrition favor those with more.

  Total Population: 321,368,864
  Available Manpower: 145,215,000
  Fit for Service: 120,025,000
  Reaching Military Age Annually: 4,220,000
  Active Frontline Personnel: 1,400,000
  Active Reserve Personnel: 1,100,000

2. LAND SYSTEMS

Tank value includes Main Battle Tanks, light tanks and tank destroyers, either wheeled or tracked. AFV value includes Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) and Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).

 Tanks: 8,848
 Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs): 41,062
 Self-Propelled Guns (SPGs): 1,934
 Towed-Artillery: 1,299
 Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRSs): 1,331

3. AIR POWER 

Includes both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft from all branches of service.

 Total Aircraft: 13,444
 Fighters/Interceptors: 2,308
 Fixed-Wing Attack Aircraft: 2,785
 Transport Aircraft: 5,739
 Trainer Aircraft: 2,771
 Helicopters: 6,084
 Attack Helicopters: 957

4. NAVAL POWER

Aircraft Carrier value includes dedicated "helicopter carrier" vessels. Total naval strength includes all known auxiliaries as well.

 Total Naval Strength: 415
 Aircraft Carriers: 19
 Frigates: 6
 Destroyers: 62
 Corvettes: 0
 Submarines: 75
 Coastal Defense Craft: 13
 Mine Warfare: 11

5. RESOURCES

Despite the advances made in battlefield technology, oil remains the lifeblood of any fighting force and supporting economy.

 Oil Production: 8,653,000 bbl/day
 Oil Consumption: 19,000,000 bbl/day
 Proven Oil Reserves: 36,520,000,000 bbl/day

6. LOGISTICAL 

War is as much a battle of logistics - moving man and machine from / to points all over - as it is direct combat. Labor Force adds to available wartime industry strength.

 Labor Force: 155,900,000
 Merchant Marine Strength: 393
 Major Ports and Terminals: 24
 Roadway Coverage: 6,586,610
 Railway Coverage: 224,792
 Serviceable Airports: 13,513

7. FINANCIAL

Regardless of strength in numbers, war is still driven by financing as much as any one leader or weapon.

 Defense Budget: $581,000,000,000
 External Debt: $17,260,000,000,000
 Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold: $130,100,000,000
 Purchasing Power Parity: $17,350,000,000,000

8. GEOGRAPHY

Geographical values primarily figure into a defensive-minded war.

 Square Land Area: 9,826,675 km
 Coastline: 19,924 km
 Shared Border: 12,048 km
 Waterways: 41,009 km

Sources: CIA.gov, CIA World Factbook, wikipedia.com.