The Legacy of the Zhou was one of transformation. During the eight centuries of the Zhou dynasty, China was transformed from a feudal state to one with a well-organized central government. As the structure of the state evolved, a new Chinese civilization developed. … Continue reading
At some point between 130,000 and 90,000 years ago the first true human beings, Homo sapiens, evolved in eastern and southern Africa. These Stone Age humans had the same capacity for thought as modern human beings. They were capable of making tools such … Continue reading
Two separate systems of education exist in Afghanistan. The older system is a religious one, taught by the mullahs, who conduct classes in the madrassas (mosque schools). They teach the religious precepts of the Qur’an, reading, writing, and arithmetic. The other system was introduced in Afghanistan’s 1964 constitution, which provided for free and compulsory education at all levels, although this was rarely achieved. This system was based on Western models. Special emphasis was placed on primary education. Secondary schools existed in Kabul and the larger towns. Five years of primary school and five years of secondary school were expected, although many Afghans could not attend because they lived in areas where there were no schools.
Decades of war effectively eliminated most education, and an entire generation grew up without any formal schooling. The civil war resulted in the closing or dismantling of most lower, middle, and higher educational facilities in the country. Many teachers quit their posts and left Afghanistan. The subsequent Taliban regime suppressed all schooling except in the madrassas, and forbade it for girls and women. Only rote memorization of the Qur’an in Arabic was officially allowed. Opposition groups in a few places in the country tried to maintain some education, but under very difficult circumstances.
With the removal of the Taliban from power in late 2001, people in Afghanistan began to rebuild a national education system. Schools such as Kabul University reopened, and student enrollments soared. However, the country was sorely lacking the educational facilities and resources it needed to meet the burgeoning demand. A mobile school system was set up to bring education to rural areas, and foreign universities and nongovernmental organizations donated books and teaching materials. By the 2003-04 academic year 4.2 million boys and girls attended about 7,000 schools around the country. The male-female ratio had returned to pre-Taliban levels, although boys still outnumbered girls. A major project to improve literacy rates throughout Afghanistan was launched in January 2003 with the help of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The average literacy rate was estimated to be 36 percent for all Afghans aged 15 and older in 2000, with 51 percent literacy among males and 21 percent among females.
According to the 2004 constitution, Afghans are free to choose the language in which they receive their education. Primary and secondary educations are available in both Dari and Pashto, as well as in Afghanistan’s other languages, such as Uzbek. University courses are mostly taught in Dari. Kabul University, founded in 1932, is the country’s largest and most prestigious academic institution. Nine other colleges were established within it from 1938 through 1967. The University of Nangarhār in Jalālābād was established in 1962 to teach medicine and other disciplines. Important but small universities are also located in Kandahar, Herāt, Balkh, and Bāmiān. Before 1961 only men could receive a higher education; that year the government opened all public institutions of higher learning to women.
Chinese Crested refers to either of two varieties of a breed of toy dog. The hairless Chinese crested has hair only on its head, face, tail, and feet; the powderpuff Chinese crested is covered completely with fur. Although hairless dogs have been known for centuries in Asia, Africa, and South America, the origin of this breed is unclear. The Chinese crested was pictured in European art in the mid-19th century, and appeared in American dog shows in the 1890s.
The Chinese crested has a small, fine-boned body. It stands only 28 to 33 cm (about 11 to 13 in) high, and weighs about 2 to 5.5 kg (about 4 to 12 lb). It has a graceful, rectangular-shaped body, with sloping shoulders and a straight back. The neck is lean and slightly arched, and the wedge-shaped head has a long muzzle that narrows to a point. The bases of the large, erect ears are level with the outside corners of the wide-set, almond-shaped eyes. Some hairless Chinese crested are born missing teeth. A slender tail tapers to a curve, and is held slightly forward above the back when the dog is alert.
The Chinese crested can be any color or combination of colors. The hairless variety has soft, smooth skin. The silky hair that grows on the head, feet, and tail is called, respectively, the crest, socks, and plume. The powderpuff variety has a dense coat of straight, medium-length hair.
This dog moves with a lively but smooth walk that reflects its happy disposition. It is a quiet animal that can be reserved and proud, yet playful. Size and manners make it a good house pet, and it treats children gently. The hairless variety may make a good companion for people with allergies, but its skin must be cleansed and lubricated regularly, and the dog must be protected from extreme heat and cold. Unlike other dogs, which pant when overheated, the Chinese crested sweats to release heat.
The Chinese crested received full acceptance from the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1991. The national breed club is the American Chinese Crested Club.
The End of Monarchy in Afghanistan came after the 1973 overthrow. In 1973 Muhammad Daud overthrew the king in a coup. He declared Afghanistan a republic with himself as president. Daud announced ambitious plans for economic development and tried to play the USSR against Western donors, but his dictatorial government was opposed both by radical left-wing intellectuals and soldiers and by traditionalist ethnic leaders. The leading leftist organization was the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), which had been founded in 1965 and in 1967 split into a pro-Soviet Parcham faction and a much more radical Khalq faction. The two groups joined forces in 1976 to oppose Daud. The End of Monarchy in Afghanistan was one incidence that finally cumulated in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on December 25, 1979 with the Soviets capitalizing on the instability in the government at the time of the invasion.
The Executive in Afghanistan has the same function as other presidential democracies. The president is head of state and head of government, as well as commander in chief of the armed forces. The president is directly elected to a term of five years and may serve no more than two terms. The 2004 constitution established a strong presidency, but it imposes some restrictions on presidential power. For example, some of the president’s appointments and policy decisions are subject to parliamentary approval, including those of government ministers and Supreme Court justices. The Executive in Afghanistan is responsible for running the government and foreign affairs.
The Regulation of Abortion is necessary to control when, how and under what circumstance abortion should be performed. Abortion has been practiced around the world since ancient times as a crude method of birth control. Although many religions forbade or restricted the practice, abortion was not considered illegal in most countries until the 19th century. There were laws prior to this time, however, that banned abortion after quickening—that is, the time that fetal movement can first be felt. In 1803 England banned all abortions, and this policy soon spread to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Throughout the middle and late 1800s, many states in the United States enacted similar laws banning abortion. In the 20th century, however, many nations began to relax their laws against abortion. The former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) legalized abortion in 1920, followed by Japan in 1948, and several Eastern European countries in the 1950s. In the 1960s and 1970s, much of Europe and Asia, along with the United States legalized abortion.
An estimated 46 million abortions are performed worldwide each year, of which 20 million are performed in countries where abortion is restricted or prohibited by law. Illegal abortions are more likely to be performed by untrained people, in unsanitary conditions, or with unsafe surgical procedures or drugs. As a result, illegal abortion accounts for an estimated 78,000 deaths worldwide each year, or about one in seven pregnancy-related deaths. In some African countries, illegal abortion may contribute to up to 50 percent of pregnancy-related deaths. In Romania, where abortion was outlawed from 1966 to 1989, an estimated 86 percent of pregnancy-related deaths were caused by illegal abortion. In countries where abortion is legal, less than 1 percent of pregnancy-related deaths are caused by abortion. Regulation of Abortion depends on the country where such procedures are to be carried out, and prevailing beliefs and laws.
The Government of Afghanistan is a democratic one. Afghanistan is governed under a constitution that went into effect in 2004. The constitution provides for a strong presidency, a two-chamber legislature, and an independent judiciary. It guarantees freedom of religion while recognizing Islam as the country’s official religion. It also recognizes that men and women are equal before the law, and it guarantees language rights of minorities. The Government of Afghanistan is however presidential in nature with basic freedoms except in the Taliban years when human rights were severely restricted.
The Literature of Afghanistan could be as old as the country. The ancient art of storytelling continues to flourish in Afghanistan, partly in response to widespread illiteracy. This age-old practice of telling folktales, through music and the spoken word is a highly developed and much appreciated art form. The use of folklore has become the thread that links the past with the present in Afghan society. Folktales concern all parts of Afghan life and often teach traditional values, beliefs, and behaviors. They are also a major form of entertainment in Afghanistan.
Literature in both the Dari and Pashto languages originated in the Islamic era of Persian literature when the Arabic script became widely used. Shah Nameh (Book of Kings), the great epic poem completed in 1010 by the Persian poet Firdawsi, consists of 60,000 rhyming couplets in Dari. Many other poems and tales were written in Dari and Turkic languages as well. In the 13th century Jalal al-Din Rumi, a Sufi mystic and poet originally from Balkh, composed the epic poem Masnavi-ye Manavi (Spiritual Couplets), which had an enormous influence on Islamic literature and thought. Khushhal Kattak, a famous 17th-century Pashtun warrior and poet, used verse to express the tribal code.
Modern writings have attempted to bring Afghans closer to understanding the changes associated with the modern world, and especially to comprehend the destruction of their country by war. In 1972 Sayyed Burhanuddin Majruh wrote several volumes in classical, rhythmic Dari prose about a traveler who joins his countrymen in exile, where they exchange ideas and narratives from ancient times in the light of modern concepts of reason, logic, science, and psychoanalysis. During the war with the Soviets, writings focused on the twin concerns of Islam and freedom. Resistance to the Soviets was especially pronounced in the Pashto province of Paktīā; in 1983 Gulzarak Zadran published “Afghanistan the Land of Jihad: Paktīāin Uprising Waves” in the Pashto language. The Afghanistan Historical Society and the Pashto Academy published literary magazines and encouraged new writers in recent years, although much of their effort was stopped by the civil war. The Literature of Afghanistan though vast in nature has evolved over the years to represent the interest of the Afghan people.
The Natural Resources of Afghanistan are products of nature exploited for the economic benefit of the Afghan people. Despite a lengthy history of small-scale mining of gems, gold, copper, and coal, systematic exploration of Afghanistan’s mineral resources did not begin until the 1960s. In the 1970s significant reserves of natural gas were discovered in the northern part of the country. Fossil fuel resources also include petroleum and coal. The country has significant deposits of copper and iron ores, barite, chromite, lead, zinc, sulfur, salt, and talc. For many centuries Afghanistan has been an important source of precious and semiprecious stones such as lapis lazuli, ruby, aquamarine, and emerald. The Natural Resources of Afghanistan is one that shows the rich economic diversity of the country.