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  1. In an unprecedented open letter, Iranian Supreme Leader appealed “to the Youth in Europe and North America” to make an effort to understand Islam before condemning it. In the letter, Iran’s leader asks a series of questions from its readers like if they have directly read the Qur’an of the Muslims or have studied the teachings of the Prophet of Islam and his “humane and ethical doctrines”? And possibly most importantly whether they have ever received the message of Islam from any sources other than the media? Condemning terrorist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, the leader ends his message on a hopeful note on how the future generations will write history if they have accurate information about global developments. Iran denounced the shooting at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo but has also condemned as “provocative” its publication last week of a cartoon of Prophet Mohammad. Referring to the recent events in France, the leader then asked that readers “study and research the incentives behind this widespread tarnishing of the image of Islam” and “try to gain a direct and firsthand knowledge of this religion.” He added, “I don’t insist that you accept my reading or any other reading of Islam. What I want to say is: Don’t allow this dynamic and effective reality in today’s world to be introduced to you through resentments and prejudices.” (Video included in the source) Source: http://www.iransview.com/iran-leader-reached-western-youth-rare-open-letter/1509/
  2. President Barack Obama said Friday that police and spies should not be locked out of encrypted smartphones and messaging apps, taking his first public stance in a simmering battle over private communications in the digital age. Apple, Google GOOGL -0.18% and Facebook FB +1.63% have introduced encrypted products in the past half year that the companies say they could not unscramble, even if faced with a search warrant. That’s prompted vocal complaints from spy chiefs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and, this week, British Prime Minister David Cameron. Obama’s comments came after two days of meetings with Cameron, and with the prime minister at his side. “If we find evidence of a terrorist plot… and despite having a phone number, despite having a social media address or email address, we can’t penetrate that, that’s a problem,” Obama said. He said he believes Silicon Valley companies also want to solve the problem. “They’re patriots.” http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/01/16/obama-sides-with-cameron-in-encryption-fight/