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  • Amid Sexual Harassment Probe, Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen Won't Seek Re-Election

    Amid Sexual Harassment Probe, Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen Won't Seek Re-ElectionDemocratic Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen said on Saturday he won?t seek re-election in 2018 just one day after the House Ethics Committee said it would investigate allegations of sexual harassment from two women.


  • Mystery swirls around powerful North Korea official as Hwang Pyong-so remains missing

    Mystery swirls around powerful North Korea official as Hwang Pyong-so remains missingA North Korean official widely deemed as the nation?ssecondmost powerful figure has been missing for some time, raising speculation that he has been executed.


  • NBC WSJ Poll: Democratic favorability highest since 2008

    NBC WSJ Poll: Democratic favorability highest since 2008In a new poll from NBC News/Wall Street Journal, President Trump's approval sits at the lowest level for any president at this point in time.


  • When The Fire Comes And There's No Home To Evacuate And Nowhere To Go

    When The Fire Comes And There's No Home To Evacuate And Nowhere To GoIn some parts of Santa Barbara County, the Thomas fire has caused apocalyptic scenes.


  • Sandy Hook mom rips Trump for hosting NRA exec at White House party on 5th anniversary of massacre

    Sandy Hook mom rips Trump for hosting NRA exec at White House party on 5th anniversary of massacreNicole Hockley, whose son was among the 20 children killed in the 2012 Newtown, Conn., shootings, is furious about Trump?s decision to host National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre at a White House Christmas party on Dec. 14 ? the fifth anniversary of the massacre.


  • Major Power Outage At Atlanta International Airport Delays Flights

    Major Power Outage At Atlanta International Airport Delays FlightsA major power outage at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday prompted officials to order all flights headed there to be grounded at their departure points or diverted.


  • Manchin: 'I wanted to be more involved' in crafting tax bill

    Manchin: 'I wanted to be more involved' in crafting tax billSen. Joe Manchin tells Chuck Todd in an exclusive interview that he believes Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) convinced the president to pursue a partisan strategy to pass the tax bill, rather than work with Democrats.


  • Billionaire founder of Canada drug firm in 'suspicious' death

    Billionaire founder of Canada drug firm in 'suspicious' deathCanada's global pharmaceutical giant Apotex has confirmed the death of its billionaire founder Barry Sherman, after police reported two "suspicious" deaths at the couple's upscale Toronto home. Police did not identify the victims, who were found on Friday, but Canadian media named them as Sherman and his wife Honey, prominent Canadians whose deaths sparked an outpouring of grief among the country's political elite. "We've been informed of the tragic news that Barry and Honey Sherman have unexpectedly passed away," said the Twitter account of Apotex, which Sherman founded in 1974.


  • This Cat Named D-O-G Helps Train Pups To Be Service Dogs

    This Cat Named D-O-G Helps Train Pups To Be Service DogsNot many cats get to have a career as a dog trainer, but one Missouri feline is doing just that.


  • Former leader of Chile Sebastian Pinera returns to office after beating left-wing opponent

    Former leader of Chile Sebastian Pinera returns to office after beating left-wing opponentFormer Chilean leader Sebastian Pinera on Sunday night became president elect for the second time after comfortably winning an election that wasexpected to came down to the wire. Mr Pinera, a conservative billionaire businessman who held office between 2010 and 2014, beat Alejandro Guillier, a journalist turned politicianfrom the centre left. With more than 90 percent of the vote in, Mr Guillier congratulated his opponent while conceding defeat with 45.4 percent of the vote to Pinera's54.5 percent. ?My rival knew how to adopt our flags,? Guillier said. ?Chile has changed and that change is forever. But we have to be self-critical; we havereceived a hard defeat.? It was a defeat for Guillier Credit: Claudio Reyes/AFP The 68-year-old's victory provides a mandate to reverse four years of economic and political reform put in place by President Michelle Bacheletwhose previously popular presidency fell under a cloud when her daughter in law becameembroiledin a corruption scandal in 2015. Both candidates promised to keep in place Chile's longstanding free-market economic model, but Pinera has promised lower taxes to boostgrowth and create 600,000 jobs, ease industry regulations and narrow the budget deficit. Guillier wanted the government to press on with Bachelet's overhaul of education, taxes and labor. On Sundayevening, supporters gathered to celebrate Pinera's win at his Santiago campaign headquarters. The win signals the country's shift to the right in line with other Latin American nations in recent years. A decade ago, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil,Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Venezuela were all governed by left-wing leaders. But in recent years, conservatives have come to power in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay and Venezuela.


  • Track Palin, son of politician Sarah Palin, arrested in Alaska

    Track Palin, son of politician Sarah Palin, arrested in AlaskaThe elder son of former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was in jail on Sunday, facing assault and burglary charges in her home state of Alaska. Track Palin, 28, appeared in state court in Palmer, Alaska, earlier in the day, on a felony burglary charge and misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief charges, court records showed.


  • Third Sea Lion Attack in a Week Prompts Swimming Ban at San Francisco Park

    Third Sea Lion Attack in a Week Prompts Swimming Ban at San Francisco Park"I haven?t had a single sea lion or wildlife attack like this."


  • Camille Grammar Says She Was ?Nervous? About Getting Married After Her Divorce

    Camille Grammar Says She Was ?Nervous? About Getting Married After Her DivorceCamille Grammer opened up about her engagement to lawyer David C. Meyer and how she was nervous about marriage after her split from famous ex Kelsey Grammer


  • A Republican Running To Replace Paul Ryan Comes With White Nationalist Street Cred

    A Republican Running To Replace Paul Ryan Comes With White Nationalist Street CredHuffPost asked Paul Nehlen three times by email this week if he considers himself a white nationalist.


  • Mario Batali Apologizes For Sexual Harassment With Cinnamon Rolls

    Mario Batali Apologizes For Sexual Harassment With Cinnamon RollsMario Batali, the former host of ?The Chew? who stands accused of sexual misconduct, issued an apology to fans on Friday through his newsletter and inexplicably ended it with a recipe for cinnamon rolls.


  • Santa?s workshop comes to life in Brooklyn, New York

    Santa?s workshop comes to life in Brooklyn, New YorkFifty years ago, Lou Nasti gained fame when he built a robot that landed him on the front page of the New York Times. Now his skill can be seen in his detailed animatronic Christmas workshop in Brooklyn, New York and on display all around the world.


  • Latest: Powerful winds raise fire risk as crews battle blaze

    Latest: Powerful winds raise fire risk as crews battle blazeLOS ANGELES (AP) ? The Latest on wildfires burning in Southern California (all times local):


  • Relief, Bitterness And Frustration: Another Year Of Obamacare Enrollment

    Relief, Bitterness And Frustration: Another Year Of Obamacare EnrollmentSince the first open enrollment period for the Obamacare exchanges began in the fall of 2013, these health insurance markets have been a godsend, a disaster or something in between for consumers.


  • Argentina navy chief sacked over sub tragedy

    Argentina navy chief sacked over sub tragedyArgentina dismissed its naval chief on Saturday, the most high-profile officer to be fired a month after a submarine went missing with 44 crew members on board. It's a political decision," a navy officer told AFP on condition of anonymity about the decision to remove Admiral Marcelo Srur during an ongoing investigation into the sub's disappearance. Srur is the fifth senior officer to have been relieved of his functions so far over the ARA San Juan's disappearance.


  • Children serenade pope on 81st birthday; he appeals for kidnapped nuns

    Children serenade pope on 81st birthday; he appeals for kidnapped nunsTens of thousands of people, many of them children, serenaded Pope Francis on his 81st birthday on Sunday, as the pontiff appealed for the release of Catholic nuns kidnapped last month in Nigeria. The crowd sang Happy Birthday in Italian as the pontiff appeared at the window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter's Square for his weekly message and blessing. The first Latin American pope was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires.


  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder Says Termination of Robert Mueller Would Be 'Absolute Red Line'

    Former Attorney General Eric Holder Says Termination of Robert Mueller Would Be 'Absolute Red Line'"The American people must be seen and heard"


  • British embassy worker found murdered in Lebanon: official

    British embassy worker found murdered in Lebanon: officialA British woman employed at the UK embassy in Lebanon has been found murdered, a senior official said Sunday, adding that the crime did not appear to be political. According to her social media profiles, she was employed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).


  • France Promises To 'Defend Net Neutrality' In Wake Of FCC Vote In U.S.

    France Promises To 'Defend Net Neutrality' In Wake Of FCC Vote In U.S.In the aftermath of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission?s vote to repeal net neutrality last week, the French government has spoken up in support of a free and open internet.


  • Virginia Woman Mauled To Death By Her Own Dogs

    Virginia Woman Mauled To Death By Her Own DogsThe body of a 22-year-old woman was found after apparently being mauled to death by her dogs in what is being described as a quote ?grisly? scene


  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte backs same-sex marriage

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte backs same-sex marriagePhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared himself in favour of same-sex marriage in an about turn that will put him on a collision course with the country's powerful Catholic Church. Speaking at the weekend at a gathering of the LGBT community in his home city of Davao, southern Philippines, he vowed to protect their rights and invited them to nominate a representative to work in his government. "I am for (same) sex marriage if that is the trend of modern times," he said. "If that will add to your happiness, I am for it." Profile | Rodrigo Duterte Mr Duterte was quoted previously in the local media as opposing same-sex marriage, using the gender issue to attack liberal Western countries who allow it, especially those criticising his brutal war against drugs which has killed thousands of Filipino citizens. But according to the local Inquirer, Mr Duterte dramatically backtracked from earlier remarks in his latest speech, revealing that he had gay family members and joking that he once toyed with the idea of being bisexual. "Why impose a morality that is no longer working and almost passe," he said, adding that "there will be no oppression" during his term in office and that his government would recognise the LGBT community's "importance in society". His shift will put him at odds with the Catholic Church who have already strongly criticised his bloody crackdown on drugs. The country's powerful bishops earlier this year voiced concern about any moves to legalise same-sex unions. While most Western countries have legalised same-sex marriage, with Australia being the latest to do so, the LGBT community still faces widespread discrimination across Asia. Only Vietnam and Taiwan have made progress towards marriage equality but have yet to enshrine the right to marry a member of the same sex in law.


  • End of days comes for Ohio man's 'zombie Nativity' scene

    End of days comes for Ohio man's 'zombie Nativity' sceneCINCINNATI (AP) ? A ghoulish holiday tradition outside of Cincinnati will soon come to a close after an Ohio man said he won't put up his "zombie Nativity" scene after this year.


  • Merry Christmas, Losers! Baldwin's Trump Boasts 'Greatest Year' On The Planet On 'SNL'

    Merry Christmas, Losers! Baldwin's Trump Boasts 'Greatest Year' On The Planet On 'SNL'The ?Saturday Night Live? gang gathered in the ersatz White House for the last show before Christmas while ?all natural, all American coal? burned in the fireplace, noted Alec Baldwin?s Donald Trump.


  • Pentagon admits it ran secret multimillion-dollar UFO programme between 2007 and 2012

    Pentagon admits it ran secret multimillion-dollar UFO programme between 2007 and 2012The Pentagon has admitted it ran a secret programme tasked with investigating sightings of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. Although the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Programme ended five years ago, when US defence officials shifted attention and funding to other priorities, it remains unclear if it has continued to investigate sightings of mysterious vehicles. Most of the money went to an aerospace research company ran by Robert Bigelow, a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Mr Reid.


  • Landslides kill 26 in storm-hit Philippine province: local officials

    Landslides kill 26 in storm-hit Philippine province: local officialsAt least 26 people were killed while several residents were missing in an island province in central Philippines after tropical storm Kai-tak brought heavy rains that triggered landslides, local authorities and media said on Sunday. Kai-tak cut power supplies in many areas, forced the cancellation of several flights, stranded more than 15,000 people in various ports in the region and prompted nearly 88,000 people to seek shelter in evacuation centers. The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of Biliran island said 26 residents had died, but the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has yet to make any official announcement about fatalities.


  • The Vatican Bans Sales of Saints' Body Parts in Updated Relic Rules

    The Vatican Bans Sales of Saints' Body Parts in Updated Relic RulesThe new rules govern how body parts and cremated remains are to be handled


  • 93-Year-Old Woman Spends 2 Nights In Jail After Eviction From Senior Housing

    93-Year-Old Woman Spends 2 Nights In Jail After Eviction From Senior HousingFlorida authorities released an elderly woman from jail on Thursday after police arrested her for allegedly not paying rent at the senior housing community where she had lived since 2011.


  • US public health 'word ban' sparks outrage

    US public health 'word ban' sparks outrageThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's reported move to ban words including "fetus," "diversity" and "transgender" in budget-related documents triggered outrage, astonishment and calls for the decision to be reversed Saturday. "Among the words forbidden to be used in @CDCgov budget documents are 'evidence-based' and 'science-based.' Here's a word that's still allowed: ridiculous," the American Association for the Advancement of Science wrote on its Twitter account. "To prevent the agency from losing its legitimacy, CDC Director Fitzgerald must speak up now to reinforce the centrality of science to the agency?s work," Halpern wrote in a blog post.


  • Russia and NATO: Headed for a Missile Arms Race in Europe?

    Russia and NATO: Headed for a Missile Arms Race in Europe?The NATO alliance is urging Moscow to return to compliance with the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces bilateral U.S.-Russia treaty, which bans land-based missiles that have ranges between 500km and 5,500km. ?Allies have identified a Russian missile system that raises serious concerns,? reads a statement from the alliance.


  • The Myth That Urbanization Means Prosperity

    The Myth That Urbanization Means ProsperityWhen it comes to cities and urbanization, it is generally thought that bigger is better. But a pair of recent studies suggests that although industrialized nations may have benefited from larger cities, the same is not true for the rapidly urbanizing areas of the developing world. In these parts of the globe, there really might be such a thing as too much urbanization, too quickly.


  • AP PHOTOS: Best of 2017 for the Middle East

    AP PHOTOS: Best of 2017 for the Middle EastIn 2017 the Islamic State group was driven from its last strongholds in Iraq and Syria at an enormous cost, Pakistanis broke their silence to speak about sexual abuse in Islamic schools, and the U.S. declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel ignited widespread protests.


  • Pastor Blasts Supreme Court?s Gay Wedding Cake Case In Unhinged Rant

    Pastor Blasts Supreme Court?s Gay Wedding Cake Case In Unhinged RantA conservative pastor known for producing controversial Facebook videos is back with a blistering defense of Christian businesses who turn away same-sex couples.


  • Hundreds of People Fell Sick on a Royal Caribbean Cruise

    Hundreds of People Fell Sick on a Royal Caribbean CruiseSome passengers told local media they were happy to get off the ship


  • Trump to say in security speech that China is competitor: officials

    Trump to say in security speech that China is competitor: officialsBy Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will lay out a new U.S. national security strategy on Monday based on his "America First" policy and will, among other items, make clear that China is a competitor, two senior U.S. officials said on Saturday. Trump has praised Chinese President Xi Jinping while also demanding that Beijing increase pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program and to change trade practices to make them more favorable to the United States. The national security strategy, to be rolled out in a speech by Trump, should not be seen as an attempt to contain China but rather to offer a clear-eyed look at the challenges China poses, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


  • How virtual bitcoin production is 'killing the planet'

    How virtual bitcoin production is 'killing the planet'Existing only in the digital sphere but currently worth a fortune, it is the virtual currency that has gone mainstream in recent weeks. However, it has emerged that the production of bitcoins uses so much energy it threatens to seriously harm the planet. In recent months investors have flocked to the currency that exists only in cyberspace and is traded directly from person to person. But its very success had led to fears about the environmental impact of the Bitcoin phenomenon. The process by which the currency is produced in the digital world uses an enormous amount of energy, much of it coming from the carbon fuels that cause the most pollution. Total electricity use in bitcoin mining has increased by 30 percent in the past month, according to accounting firm PwC. Bitcoin electricity consumption Alex de Vries, an analyst for at PwC, who started the Digiconomist blog to show the potential pitfalls in cryptocurrency, said: ?The energy-consumption is insane. If we start using this on a global scale, it will kill the planet.? One major producer, Bitmain Technologies Ltd, runs a server farm in Erdors, Inner Mongolia, housed inside eight 100-meter-long metal warehouses, with about 25,000 computers dedicated to solving the encrypted calculations that generate each bitcoin. The entire operation runs on electricity produced with coal, as do a growing number of cryptocurrency ?mines? popping up in China. Bitcoin | Your essential guide The global industry?s use of power is thought to equal that required for three million U.S. homes, topping the individual consumption of 159 countries, according to the Digiconomist Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index. And as more bitcoin is created, the difficulty rate of token-generating calculations increases, as does the need for electricity. Christopher Chapman, a London-based analyst at Citigroup Inc, said: ?This has become a dirty thing to produce.?. Bitcoin was devised by an unknown individual or group under the name Satoshi Nakamoto as a system that awards virtual coins for solving complex puzzles and uses an encrypted digital ledger to track all the work and every transaction. As the market grew from one limited to gamers in 2009 to a global phenomenon this year, ever-more computing power was needed by large networks. Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as ?mining? and can be exchanged for other currencies, goods and services. Prices have surged more than 2,000 percent in the past year on some exchanges and touched a record of more than $17,900 on Friday. Bitcoin price: last 365 days But according to a recent study of the industry by experts at Cambridge University, China - which gets about 60 percent of its electricity from coal - is the biggest operator of computer ?mines? and probably accounts for about a quarter of all the power used to create cryptocurrencies. About 58 percent of the world?s large cryptocurrency mining pools were located in China, followed by the U.S. at 16 percent, the study found. Bitcoin server farms in provinces such as Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Heilongjian are heavily reliant upon coal-generated electricity for powerl. Estimates of how much electricity goes into making cryptocurrencies vary widely -- from the output of one large nuclear reactor to the consumption of the entire population of Denmark. Analysts agree that the industry?s power use is expanding rapidly -- especially after a price rally that made bitcoin almost four times more valuable than just three months ago. Some analysts dismiss claims of bitcoin?s environmental impact as alarmist, noting that even the highest estimates of demand account for only about 0.1 percent of what the world uses. Meet the real-life 'everyday' Bitcoin investors However, bitcoin?s algorithm dictates that after a certain number of tokens are created, more work is required for the next batch, said James Butterfill, head of research and investment strategy at ETF Securities Ltd. in London. Using estimates of electricity prices and the rising speed with which calculations must occur, Mr Butterfill estimates the marginal costs of each bitcoin will more than double from $6,611 in the fourth quarter to $14,175 in the second quarter of 2018. At the start of 2017, the cost was $2,856. With costs rising, there?s a greater risk for investors should prices tumble. FAQ | Bitcoin ?You?d be hard-pressed to find anywhere where it isn?t profitable to mine,? said Mr Butterfill, who set up computers at his home to mine tokens in his spare time and joined a network of 120,000 others to boost processing capacity and returns. ?But if you?re investing in a bitcoin rig, you have to look at the long term, and with the volatility as high as it is, it probably still doesn?t make sense to mine bitcoin in Europe.? Not all cryptocurrency mining is dirty. Computers in Iceland are powered by geothermal plants. Even in China, some are clustered around hydroelectric facilities in Sichuan and Yunnan. In Austria, Hydrominer IT-Services GmbH put servers inside hydro-power plants. Michael Marcovici, the firm?s founder said: ?It is bad for bitcoin to have this news all the time about this dirty energy. People don?t want dirty energy to be used. But the problem is, in Europe, the energy is just too expensive.?


  • Second Director Says Weinsteins Blacklisted Actress Mira Sorvino From Film

    Second Director Says Weinsteins Blacklisted Actress Mira Sorvino From FilmA second director has stepped forward this week with claims that Harvey and Bob Weinstein blacklisted actress Mira Sorvino and prevented her from being cast in films.


  • Turkey court releases 7 suspects in New Year attack trial

    Turkey court releases 7 suspects in New Year attack trialA Turkish court on Saturday ordered the release of seven suspects in the trial over the deadly New Year attack on an Istanbul nightclub following an initial series of hearings. The court in Silivri outside Istanbul ruled that 44 suspects -- including the self-confessed attacker Uzbek citizen Abdulkadir Masharipov -- must stay in jail. A total of 57 suspects are on trial, with the remaining number freed under judicial control or on the run.


  • Will U.S. Marines Fight the North Koreans in 'Pajamas?'

    Will U.S. Marines Fight the North Koreans in 'Pajamas?'If the U.S. actually goes back to war with North Korea, American troops are going to need a uniform that is lightweight, breathable, and provides adequate camouflage in the forest, complete with a solid pair of boots for humping up and down all of those big mountains. Fortunately for Marines, the Corps has been working hard to ensure they?ll have both. Lt. Col. Christopher Madeline of Marine Corps Systems Command told Marine Corps Times on Dec. 9 that tropical uniforms and boots should be available starting in late 2018.


  • A Mysterious Charity is Giving Away $86 Million in Bitcoin

    A Mysterious Charity is Giving Away $86 Million in BitcoinIt involves pineapples. Kind of.


  • Populist far-right leaders want no EU in future Europe

    Populist far-right leaders want no EU in future EuropePRAGUE (AP) ? Far-right populists in Europe vowed Saturday to work together to create a new model of intercontinental cooperation that is far removed from the European Union.


  • America's Oldest Zoo Polar Bear 'Coldilocks' Get's 37th Birthday Bash

    America's Oldest Zoo Polar Bear 'Coldilocks' Get's 37th Birthday Bash'Coldi' has far outlived the average lifespan for her species in captivity.


  • Spain Arrests Suspect Wanted in Italy for Multiple Killings

    Spain Arrests Suspect Wanted in Italy for Multiple KillingsHe was arrested after three were killed in Spain, including two Civil Guards


  • U.N. to vote Monday on call for U.S. Jerusalem decision to be withdrawn

    U.N. to vote Monday on call for U.S. Jerusalem decision to be withdrawnBy Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Monday on a draft resolution calling for the withdrawal of U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, diplomats said, a move likely to face a Washington veto. Diplomats say it has broad support among the 15-member council, and while it is unlikely to be adopted, the vote will further isolate Trump on the issue. Trump abruptly reversed decades of U.S. policy this month when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, generating outrage from Palestinians.


  • Dream Plays with Aunt Khlo Kardashian and Grandma Kris Jenner in New Christmas Card Photo

    Dream Plays with Aunt Khlo Kardashian and Grandma Kris Jenner in New Christmas Card PhotoKhloe Kardashian is getting some parenting practice in the latest look at the KarJenner Christmas Card


  • 'Stupid idea' propels trail-blazing Silk Road runner

    'Stupid idea' propels trail-blazing Silk Road runnerThe world today is enough to make some people want to get up and just run to the ends of the Earth, so that's what Kai Markus decided to do. Troubled by what he sees as growing bigotry and division in the world, the German management consultant gave up a successful business to run the ancient Silk Road from Hamburg to Shanghai in a Quixotic quest to show that we are all one. Nine months, eight countries, 12,000 kilometres (7,500 miles) and two fractured heel bones later, Markus hobbled across a symbolic finish line in Shanghai on Saturday with a feeling of mission accomplished.


  • High and dry: Pakistan's penchant for hash

    High and dry: Pakistan's penchant for hashNiaz Ali is a deeply religious man: He prays five times a day and visits the mosque as frequently as possible. A sacred intoxication," says Ali, who asked to use a pseudonym, after taking a fresh rip off a hookah packed with pungent hash in Pakistan's bustling northwestern town of Peshawar. While Ali freely acknowledges using hash runs counter to the tenets of Islam, he insists it has its advantages.