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How to Fix Fraternities

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Can returning to their roots help fix frats?

By Emily Esfahani Smith in the New Criterion

2. The top reason students struggle academically doesn’t have anything to do with schools.

By Lyndsey Layton in the Washington Post

3. Why we should keep Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks off the $20 bill.

By Kirsten West Savali in the Root

4. Should the U.S. stop trusting Pakistan?

By Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman in the Reuters Great Debate

5. Calls to reform Islam ignore the bloody history of religious reformation.

By Mehdi Hasan in the Guardian

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Pakistan

8 Surprising Titles Found on Osama Bin Laden’s Bookshelf

Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies by Noam Chomsky
Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies by Noam Chomsky

From Popular Science to a popular guide to Islam

It’s hard to imagine the mastermind of 9/11 cozying up to an issue of Popular Science magazine, but apparently the American monthly magazine was one of many publications on Osama bin Laden’s reading list. On Wednesday, the federal government revealed a list of books and magazines found in bid Laden’s home in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Here are eight of the most surprising:

1. Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies by Noam Chomsky
America’s consummate liberal thinker takes on propaganda in democracies.

2. Oxford History of Modern War by Charles Townsend
Everything you wanted to know about war since the 14th century.

3. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy
A comprehensive study of the ups and downs of global power since 1500.

4. Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward
An inside look at President Obama’s wartime decision making.

5. A Brief Guide to Understanding Islam by I. A. Ibrahim
Published in 1999, the book is meant for non-Muslims.

6. New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin
A favorite of conspiracy theorists, New Pearl Harbor argues that the Bush administration allowed the 9/11 attacks to further its interests. It’s interesting to imagine what bin Laden, the 9/11 mastermind, thought about conspiracy theorists who argue the U.S. government, and not al-Qaeda was to blame for the attacks.

7. Popular Science magazine
Bid Laden owned an issue on innovations.

8. Delta Force: Xtreme 2 video game guide
The government release notes that this book probably wasn’t used by bin Laden himself. Still, someone in the compound was apparently a gamer.

Also found alongside the books was a document that appears to be an application to join al-Qaeda, asking questions including whether the applicant would be willing to do a suicide mission and whom al-Qaeda should contact if the applicant became a martyr.

TIME Pakistan

Here’s What Osama Bin Laden Was Reading Before His Death

Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars
Simon & Schuster Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars

Bin Laden had a large collection of U.S.-focused books, from Bob Woodward's Obama’s Wars to Oxford's History of Modern War

Isolated in a secret compound in Pakistan for years, Osama bin Laden was largely disconnected from the realities of the world around him. A list of materials found in his compound released Wednesday by the U.S. government suggests that he learned about the outside world, at least in part, through a trove of English-language documents.

From Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars to Oxford’s History of Modern War, bin Laden seemed intent on keeping up with the West’s understanding of war, diplomacy and foreign policy. Other titles include Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky, Bloodlines of the Illuminati by Fritz Springmeier and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower by William Blum.

Bin Laden also collected an array of articles from American news outlets. Some, like a story about al-Qaeda in the Los Angeles Times and copies of Foreign Policy, make sense. But it’s a little less clear why he kept others, like a TIME article about AOL stock.

Letters between members of the bin Laden family and al-Qaeda affiliates were also included in the release.

The office of the Director of National Intelligence, which released the list of documents, said it would review hundreds more papers for possible release in the near future. “All documents whose publication will not hurt ongoing operations against al-Qa‘ida or their affiliates will be released,” said office spokesperson Jeffrey Anchukaitis in a statement.

TIME Pakistan

Pakistan Welcomes First International Cricket Tour Since 2009 Lahore Attack

Policemen pass by a Pakistan cricket fan outside Gaddafi Stadium while the Zimbabwe team practice ahead of the cricket series between Pakistan and Zimbabwe in Lahore
Mohsin Raza—Reuters Policemen pass by a Pakistan cricket fan outside Gaddafi Stadium while the Zimbabwe team practice ahead of the cricket series between Pakistan and Zimbabwe in Lahore, Pakistan, May 19, 2015

Eight people were killed nearby the same stadium six years ago

Thousands of security personnel have been deployed in the Pakistani city of Lahore to protect Zimbabwe’s cricket team as it prepares for the first top-level international cricket matches in the South Asian nation since an attack on a convoy carrying Sri Lankan sportsmen in Lahore in 2009.

Zimbabwe became the first Test-playing team to set foot on Pakistani soil in six years when 16 cricketers from the African nation landed at Lahore’s Allama Iabal International Airport early on Tuesday morning, along with nine team and five cricket board officials. The touring group is scheduled to play two Twenty20 and three regular one-day internationals at Lahore’s Gaddafi stadium between May 22 and 31, before departing on June 1.

“We are so grateful to the Zimbabwe cricket board for sending their team and for trusting us. We will ensure tight security for every player of the Zimbabwean team.” Subhan Ahmed, the chief operating officer of the Pakistan cricket board, told the Guardian as the team arrived in the country.

Pakistan has not hosted any major international teams since March 3, 2009, when a dozen gunmen armed with assault rifles and grenade launchers attacked the Sri Lankan team’s convoy en route to same stadium, killing eight people, and wounding several Sri Lankan players. The incident sent shockwaves around the cricketing world.

Ahead of the Zimbabwe team’s arrival, speculation was rife that the African nation might cancel the tour after an attack on a bus in Karachi earlier in May that killed 45 people and the bombing of two churches in Lahore shortly before Easter. The International Cricket Council (ICC) refused to send any officials for the upcoming matches citing security concerns.

Tickets for Friday’s Twenty20 match — a short-form of cricket in which each side plays one innings each of a maximum of 20 six-ball overs — in Lahore been sold out and officials say they are leaving no stone unturned to ensure the security of the visiting crickets and spectators. “Whatever resources we have available here in Pakistan we will utilise them to ensure a peaceful tour for the Zimbabwean team,” Shuja Khanzada, the home minister of Punjab, told the Guardian.

TIME Pakistan

Pakistan Holds Mass Funeral for Shi‘ites Killed in Bus Attack

People light candles to protest and show solidarity with the victims of a bus attack in Karachi, Pakistan, May 13, 2015
Shakil Adil—AP People light candles to protest and show solidarity with the victims of a bus attack in Karachi, Pakistan, on May 13, 2015

Pakistan is observing a day of national mourning while hundreds of Pakistanis pay their respects at a mass funeral for 45 Shi‘ites killed

(KARACHI) — Amid tight security, hundreds of Pakistanis paid their respects at a mass funeral on Thursday for 45 minority Shi‘ites killed in a militant attack on a bus the previous day in the southern port city of Karachi.

Pakistan was observing a day of national mourning and state-run television was broadcasting live footage, showing mourners attending the last rituals for the victims of Wednesday’s assault.

The callous attack, in which gunmen stormed the bus with members of the Ismaili Shi‘ite branch, then ordered them to bow their heads and shot them dead, shocked many in Pakistan and prompted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to rush to Karachi hours after the attack and order an investigation.

It was unclear who was behind the assault. Both a Pakistani Taliban splinter group and an Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for it. Pakistani Sunni militant groups view Shi‘ites as apostates and have targeted them in the past.

According to a statement from the prime minister’s office, Sharif appealed on all Pakistanis to “join hands against these barbaric terrorists.” He said the whole nation “stands united to eliminate these enemies of Pakistan and enemies of humanity.”

Activists from the Ismaili community demanded Thursday that those involved in the attack be quickly apprehended and executed.

“Catch them. Execute (them) the next day,” said Piyar Ali, one of the activists at the mass funeral. He asked the government to “wipe-out” militants to ensure that no such attack takes place in the future.

Police say at least six gunmen were involved in the attack — the deadliest in Pakistan since December, when Taliban militants killed 150 people, mostly young students, at an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The Pakistani Taliban have been fighting for more than a decade to overthrow the government and impose a harsh version of Islamic law, killing tens of thousands of people. They often target Shi‘ites, but attacks on Ismaili community are rare.

TIME Pakistan

43 Shi‘ite Muslims Have Been Killed in a Sectarian Attack in Southern Pakistan

Security officials cordon off the area at the scene of an attack on a bus in Karachi
Akhtar Soomro—Reuters Security officials cordon off the area at the scene of an attack on a bus in Karachi, Pakistan, on May 13, 2015

More than a dozen others were injured after six gunmen opened fire

Gunmen attacked a bus carrying members of a religious minority in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi on Wednesday, killing 43 and injuring about a dozen.

Provincial police chief Ghulam Haider Jamali said the bus was headed to a place of worship for Ismaili Shi‘ite Muslims when the attackers boarded it and began firing, the Associated Press reported.

About 60 people were reportedly on board the bus when the six gunmen climbed aboard. The assailants reportedly used 9-mm pistols to execute their victims.

The Pakistani Taliban and other Sunni Muslim groups that have a presence in cities like Karachi have long targeted Shi‘ites, believing that they are apostates, although no one has yet claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack.

“That’s the probability, that some section of the Taliban or some other extremist sectarian organization carried out this attack,” Hasan Askari Rizvi, a Pakistani political scientist and analyst, tells TIME.

Rizvi added that the attack is most likely a message to the government and the Pakistan army, which has recently stepped up its crackdown on extremist groups. “It’s a pre-emptive strike, it looks like an action to deter the army and Rangers [a border security force] from taking any firm actions against these militant groups,” Rizvi says. “But they will not be deterred by this kind of action, I expect some major action in two or three days time by the military and paramilitary forces.”

TIME Pakistan

Diplomats Killed in Pakistan Helicopter Crash

Pakistani soldiers gather beside an army helicopter at a military hospital where victims of a helicopter crash were brought for treatment in Gilgit, Pakistan on May 8, 2015.
Farman Karim—AFP/Getty Images Pakistani soldiers gather beside an army helicopter at a military hospital where victims of a helicopter crash were brought for treatment in Gilgit, Pakistan on May 8, 2015.

The Taliban claimed responsibility but officials and eyewitnesses said the helicopter was not attacked

The ambassadors to Pakistan from Norway and the Philippines and the wives of the ambassadors from Malaysia and Indonesia have been killed along with two others when a Pakistani military helicopter crashed on Friday morning.

The diplomats were traveling as part of a tourism expedition with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Naltar valley near Gilgit, about 300 miles north of the capital Islamabad. The prime minister was on a separate aircraft, which turned back and returned to Islamabad upon hearing of the crash. Two diplomats survived and are being treated at an army medical facility,

Government officials say that the military helicopter went down due to a “technical fault”. This has been a worrying trend for the past decade in Pakistan’s ageing fleet of Russian-made MI-17 helicopters. Three years ago, five people were killed when one of the helicopters crashed in Skardu — not far from the location of Friday’s crash — due to “unknown reasons.”

In 2009, 41 people were killed aboard an MI-17 due to what was also said to be “a technical fault”. The same reason was given for the deaths of four people in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in 2007, and for 13 people who suffered the same fate in the northwestern tribal areas in 2004.

There had initially been fears that the crash may have involved terrorism. The Pakistani Taliban eagerly contacted local reporters to claim responsibility, adding that they had meant to target Sharif, the Prime Minister, in retaliation for military action against them. In the past, Pakistan-based terrorists have targeted foreign diplomats, including attacks on the Danish embassy and the kidnapping of an Iranian diplomat.

Government officials deny that terrorism was the cause of the crash and eyewitnesses said the helicopter appeared to spin out of control and crash, without any mid-air explosion. Pakistan has announced a national day of mourning to mark the losses suffered by Norway, the Phillipines, Indonesia and Malaysia, as a stream of condolences appeared from politicians and journalists on social media.

Leif Larsen, the 61-year-old veteran envoy from Norway, was a thoughtful and highly-respected member of the Islamabad diplomatic corps. Last week, he had spoken in an interview with Newsweek Pakistan about his affection for the seldom-mentioned “softer side” of Pakistan.

Domingo D. Lucenario, Jr., the 55-year-old ambassador from the Philippines, was one of his country’s most distinguished diplomats. He had won a series of presidential awards for his service. Before arriving in Islamabad, he also served as Manila’s envoy to Afghanistan, Kyrgyztan and Tajikistan, Lucenario had spent four years as an ambassador to a number of African countries.

TIME Pakistan

Ambassadors Killed in Pakistan Helicopter Crash

Two foreign diplomats died in a helicopter crash in Pakistan's mountainous Gilgit-Baltistan region

(ISLAMABAD) — Pakistan’s army says the ambassadors from the Philippines and Norway were killed in a helicopter crash in the country’s north.

The army says the helicopter carrying 11 foreigners and six Pakistanis made a crash landing Friday, killing two pilots and four foreign passengers.

The army’s spokesman, Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, tweeted that the MI-17 helicopter made the emergency landing in the northern area of Naltar.

It was unclear what caused the crash.

TIME National Security

New Push to Give Pentagon the Lead on Drone Strikes

In this Jan. 31, 2010 file photo, an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan.
Kirsty Wigglesworth—AP An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan on Jan. 31, 2010

The military can talk about its activities, while the CIA usually cannot

(WASHINGTON) — The deaths of an Italian and an American in a covert CIA drone strike in Pakistan — and the rhetorical contortions required of the president when he informed the world — have breathed new urgency into a long-stalled plan to give the Pentagon primacy over targeted killing of terrorists overseas.

President Barack Obama announced two years ago that he wanted the armed forces, not a civilian intelligence agency, to be in charge of killing militants abroad who pose a threat to the United States. One reason he cited was transparency: The military can talk about its activities, while the CIA usually cannot.

But the effort soon slowed to a crawl amid bureaucratic rivalries, intelligence sharing dilemmas and congressional turf battles. The vast majority of drone strikes since Obama’s May 2013 speech have been carried out in Yemen and Pakistan by the CIA.

Now, administration officials and their allies in Congress want to get the transition moving again, U.S. officials said this week. The catalyst was Obama’s struggle last month to explain how two hostages held by al-Qaida, American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto, were accidentally killed in an American drone missile attack in January. He had to do so without acknowledging that the CIA routinely conducts attacks in Pakistan, a “secret” in U.S. law but a known fact throughout the world.

The CIA also conducts targeted strikes in Yemen. The military does so in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Proponents of moving the drone program to the military worry that the CIA’s focus on hunting and killing has allowed its spying muscles to atrophy. And they argue that the military is able to discuss its operations, adding a layer of public accountability. On the other side are those who believe the CIA has become extremely proficient at targeted killing, which relies more on precise intelligence than traditional bombing.

Much of the debate about whether the CIA should exit the killing business is taking place behind the scenes. In public, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who chairs the Armed Services Committee, says he intends to insert a provision in a defense bill requiring the military to take over the drone program. And last week, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, reiterated his previous support for the proposal.

“Our intelligence agencies should focus on their core mission” of espionage, Schiff told The Associated Press.

Schiff’s stance puts him at odds with other intelligence committee leaders, including another California Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has been explicit in arguing that the CIA should continue its targeted killing. Feinstein says the CIA is more judicious than the military when conducting drone strikes.

“The CIA takes its time,” Feinstein told the AP in February. “They are not hot dogs on a mission.”

In the military, Feinstein said, there are short tours of duty and therefore, “constant turnover. There is no turnover in the (CIA) program. They’re very careful about the identification of the individual. Sometimes the intelligence gathering goes on for months.”

A Pentagon spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on Feinstein’s remarks.

Many other Intelligence Committee members agree with Feinstein, and they inserted a classified provision in a spending bill last year that blocked the Obama administration from spending money on its plan to move drone strikes away from the CIA.

There is also a matter of turf: Intelligence Committee members want to maintain their jurisdiction over a high impact counterterrorism program. They argue that their oversight of the CIA is better than the oversight conducted by the Armed Services committees over military strikes. Intelligence committee staffers watch video of each CIA strike, but staffers on the Armed Services committees in Congress do not watch videos of each military strike, say congressional aides who were not authorized to be quoted by name about a classified matter.

The congressional resistance appeared to put the transition on ice. But U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be quoted discussing a classified program, said that while the planning slowed, it never stopped. And now it is picking up again.

The ultimate goal, the U.S. officials say, is an integrated model under which the CIA continues to hunt targets, but lets the military pull the trigger.

In theory that should be easy, since many of the CIA drone pilots are Air Force personnel who have been seconded to the agency. But in practice, there are serious impediments.

One is technology: The military and CIA use different systems, sensors and databases. It will take time to integrate them.

Another is intelligence sharing. Any military commander directing a lethal operation will want to fully understand the basis for it. But some of the intelligence that undergirds CIA drone strikes comes from the agency’s most sensitive sources, whose identities it would be loath to share with anyone.

A third is bureaucratic rivalry. Those in the military who collect intelligence and hunt for targets resist the notion that the CIA take over all that work and relegate those in uniform to merely pulling the trigger.

There is also the thorny problem of Pakistan, which after the 9/11 attacks made a deal with the George W. Bush administration to allow CIA drone strikes — but not U.S. military operations — on its territory. Pakistan prefers the CIA because its activities can be denied by both governments.

While it would be possible for the military to conduct drone strikes in Pakistan and simply never comment on them, many U.S. officials believe the Pakistanis would not tolerate it.

Additionally, the U.S. often is reluctant to alert Pakistan ahead of a strike, for fear that elements of the government will tip off the targets.

TIME Pakistan

Malala Attackers Jailed for Life

Nobel Peace Prize Press Conference 2014
Nigel Waldron—Getty Images OSLO, NORWAY - DECEMBER 09: Malala Yousafzai attends the Nobel Peace Prize press conference at the Norwegian Nobel Institute on December 9, 2014 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Nigel Waldron/Getty Images)

Authorities are still searching for the man who fired the gun at Malala and those who ordered the shooting of the schoolgirl

A Pakistani court jailed 10 men for life on Thursday for their involvement in the 2012 assassination attempt on teenage education activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.

A public proscutor said the Pakistani Taliban militants were sentenced by an anti-terrorism court to 25 years in prison each, which is considered a life sentence in Pakistan, Reuters reports.

The 10 men are the first to be convicted for the attack, which left Yousafzai seriously wounded after she was shot in the head while returning from school.

Police believe the gunman who shot Malala escaped into Afghanistan, while other Pakitani Taliban leaders are wanted for their involvement in the shooting.


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