Bangladeshi Cops Arrest Three Islamists in Hacking Death of U.S. Atheist Avijit Roy

Last Thursday, American author and activist Avijit Roy, an atheist, was slaughtered, in front of his wife, by assailants wielding cleavers or machetes. The Roys were visiting Dhaka, the capital of his native Bangladesh, for a book fair. Now, Bangladeshi police have three suspects in custody.

Three suspected Islamists were on Saturday arrested in Bangladesh in a pre-dawn raid, as authorities intensified a crackdown on extremists following the brutal killing of American blogger Avijit Roy in the capital. … “We have seized 30 grenades…it appears they (the militants) could have made some 300-400 bombs with the explosives we found at the den,” [said a] commanding officer.



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Becoming a Tree: A Practical — and Beautiful — Form of Burial

I don’t mind graveyards, but they do tend to be cold, somber places. Could we instead have memorial gardens of trees and shrubs, each organism drawing life from a human body placed in a biodegradable pod or shroud beneath it?

Yes, please!

Burying bodies is a huge waste of space that could be used by the rest of us who are still breathing. Even cremation, though cheaper and easier, can produce a lot of toxic waste. But what if your dead body could be turned into a tree instead? Italian designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel are proposing just that, in the form of a biodegradable burial-pod project.



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Richard Dawkins’ Best Piece of Advice? Break Out of the “Anesthetic of Familiarity”

British “self-help guru” Paul McKenna has an interview show on the Television Four channel (think Charlie Rose). During a recent conversation, he asked Richard Dawkins for the best advice he could offer:



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Raif Badawi, Possibly Spared from Additional Lashes, Could Now Be Sentenced to Death

While the fate of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (below) is still up in the air — he received 50 lashes of a 1,000-lashes punishment for “insulting Islam,” though the flogging has been indefinitely delayed — it looks like things may be getting worse for him.



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Rape Pastor Victor Barnard, Who Claimed He’s Jesus, Is Caught in Brazil After a Long Manhunt

The year-long manhunt for Victor Barnard, an American pastor charged with 59 counts of sexual assault, is over. Barnard, who was on the U.S. Marshals Service’s Most Wanted List, was arrested in a beach town in Brazil on Friday. I previously wrote about him here.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

The arrest took place in a condominium by Pipa Beach, considered one of Brazil’s most beautiful coastal locations. Barnard was reportedly staying with a 33-year-old Brazilian woman who previously lived in the United States. Federal police confiscated religious papers, diaries, computers, flash drives and cellphones from the condo.

From CNN:

The 53-year-old suspect was wanted by the Pine County, Minnesota, Sheriff’s Office for allegedly sexually abusing two young girls who were members of his church, the U.S Marshals Service said. … [P]rosecutors in Pine County, Minnesota, issued a criminal complaint that accused him of 59 felony counts of criminal sexual conduct. The manhunt began after a two-year investigation into allegations from two women about Barnard’s alleged conduct while he was preaching to a religious group in Finlayson, Minnesota.

As a pastor, Victor Barnard inspired his congregants with his charisma and apparent devotion to the teachings of Jesus Christ. “I had never met anybody that I thought loved the word of God as much as Victor Barnard did,” [said] Ruth Johnson, a former member of Barnard’s River Road Fellowship.



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