Amusing news today -
Syria’s President Bashar Assad attended Eid prayers in a mosque in Damascus on Sunday, his first appearance in public after a bombing in the Syrian capital last month that killed the country’s defense minister and three other top security officials.
Elsewhere across Syria, thousands held anti-government protests in mosques and cemeteries to mark Eid al-Fitr, a holiday when pious Muslims traditionally visit graves and pray for the dead.
The three-day holiday marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which was particularly deadly in Syria as the 18-month-old uprising reached the country’s two largest cities, Damascus and Aleppo.
Amateur video posted by activists on the Internet showed a large group of worshippers in a mosque at al-Zahera district in Damascus shouting, “There is no God but Allah and Assad is the enemy of God,” while clapping their hands over their heads.
“May God protect the Free Syrian Army!” they also cried, referring to the main rebel group fighting to topple Assad.
Syrians also protested in many other parts of the country, demanding freedom and the ouster of the regime.
Opposition groups reported fierce artillery shelling that targeted a main cemetery in the rebel-held town of Rastan, north of the central city of Homs, as people visited the graves of dead relatives, but the reports could not be independently confirmed.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said one woman was killed in the shelling on Rastan.
Meanwhile, Syrian state TV broadcast footage showing Assad praying at the city’s Rihab al-Hamad Mosque, a relatively small mosque in al-Muhajireen district only few hundred meters (yards) from the presidential palace, to mark the start of Eid.
Residents of Damascus said security forces blocked streets and encircled several central mosques in the capital as of Saturday evening, possibly to confuse people about where Assad would attend the traditional holiday prayers.
Unlike previous years, Assad was not shown arriving or leaving in his convoy — only seated on the mosque floor, wearing a suit and tie, and later, standing and briefly shaking hands with officials before leaving.
“All this points to a state of confusion and lack of confidence at the leadership level,” said Syria-based activist Mohammad Saeed. “It shows they don’t have security in the capital under control.”
The last time Assad appeared in public was on July 4 when he gave a speech in parliament.
Since then, there has been a sharp escalation in the country’s civil war with almost daily fighting in some districts of the capital between security forces and rebels seeking to topple Assad.
The Syrian regime has suffered a series of setbacks over the past month that point to a loosening of its grip on the country.
The July 18 rebel bombing of the state-security headquarters in the capital was a major blow to Assad. His brother-in-law was among the four killed officials.
There has also been a steady stream of high-level defections by government officials, diplomats and generals, though Assad’s inner circle and military have largely kept their cohesive stance behind him. And the regime has been unable to fully subdue rebel challenges in the two major cities, Damascus and Aleppo.
Assad’s appearance comes amid much speculation on the whereabouts of Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa, who was said by some members of the Free Syrian Army to have defected to the opposition. On Saturday, his office denied the reports and said al-Sharaa “did not think, at any moment, of leaving the country.”
Al-Sharaa did not appear in the footage at the mosque with Assad, but observers note the two rarely attend the same functions for security reasons.
Associated Press writer Albert Aji contributed to this report from Damascus, Syria.
Read the rest of the article here: Syria’s Assad makes rare public appearance – Sify.com
With Sloan and Roger Barnett, Sabrina Buell and Yves Behar, Jean-Pierre Conte, and Alison and Mark Pincus, Gucci recently hosted a private cocktail party at the San Francisco store to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the loafer, and the new 1953 collection for men and women.
Catherine Kwong’s living room, inspired by Mick Jagger and Bianca Jagger, is one of the highlights of the 2013 San Francisco Decorator Showcase, taking place at 2800 Pacific Avenue.
Michael S. Smith was recently honored at Hedge Gallery in San Francisco at a party hosted by Alison Pincus, Vanessa Getty and Allison Speer. His design work for a Palladian Villa in Malibu is being put up for auction at Christie’s in New York. Nicolas Berggruen, Princess Tatiana Galitzine, Dede Wilsey, and Sabrina Buell were among the guests.
Deepa Pakianathan and Phil Pemberton recently hosted a reception for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in anticipation of its upcoming Gala on April 20, 2013, which pays tribute to legendary opera baritone and Conservatory Advisory Board member Thomas Hampson.
Conservatory mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook directs and stars in a program featuring special performances by Hampson with Conservatory students, faculty and guest artists. Teresa Medearis and Barbara Walkowski co-chair the event, with catering by McCall’s Catering and Events and decor by Blueprint Studios.
Tickets for this very special occasion can be purchased at www.sfcm.edu
UCSF Partners in Care recently held its 2013 kick-off membership event at Reed & Greenough. Membership co-Chairs Schuyler Hudak and Libby Leffler hosted the launch party and kicked off the well-attended evening with brief remarks, followed by UCSF Partners in Care President Katie Budge, who spoke about the services that the auxiliary organization provides to the hospital.
UCSF Partners in Care works with UCSF hospital staff to fund programs that provide comfort and well-being to patients and their families while visiting the UCSF medical center.
Guests enjoyed spirited greyhounds nicknamed “Doctor’s Orders,” and a “Members Only” wine special while noshing on sweet treats from Kara’s Cupakes, and savory sliders and arancini from Cedar Hill Kitchen and Smokehouse.
Please visit www.ucsfpartnersincare.org for more information about this important organization.
Renowned European designer Ms. Madeline Pauw recently made an appearance at a delightful luncheon at Saks Fifth Avenue in San Francisco, where her Spring 2013 collection was presented.
The Pauw collection is designed by Madeleine Pauw, daughter of the original founders. Pauw is known for its luxurious fabrics and soft touches of femininity while integrating just a splash of masculine undertones, but always keeping the fit and style in mind for the female physique. The company has been in business for over 50 years, and originally was created in the Netherlands where it currently has 29 stores.
You can purchase pieces from Pauw at Saks Fifth Avenue at 384 Post Street, San Francisco, or online at Saks Fifth Avenue
The Mid Winter Gala for 2013 honored the exhibit, “Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis” with a chic winter wonderland that raised over $400k. Marissa Mayer, Jonathan Ive, Alison Pincus, Vanessa Getty, Dick Costolo, Stephan Jenkins, Connie Nielsen, Lori Levine, Evgenia Peretz, Jeremy Stoppelman, Trevor Traina, Allison Speer and Kathryn Lasater were among the 380 who attended.
Stephanie Phair, the managing director of Outnet.com, recently visited from London to host a luncheon previewing Oscar de la Renta’s new limited edition collection designed exclusively for The Outnet.
The Italian artist, Paolo Troilo, recently debuted his first U.S. exhibit at Coup d’Etat, the most exceptional designer space in San Francisco.
Sponsored by Testa Vineyards, the event brought together San Francisco tastemakers such as Jack Calhoun, Stephen Brady, Gary Friedman, Joy Bianchi, Anna Weinberg, Ken Fulk, and Jamie Finegold, among others.
The exhibit will run at Coup d’Etat until May 2013.
Visit Coup d’Etat at 111 Rhode Island, or online at coupdetatsf.com
The International Museum of Women (IMOW) hosted its annual Celebrating Change Benefit on March 6th, 2013, and the associated Vanguard Group hosted its Art Live Lounge benefit.
This year’s benefit featured IMOW’s second annual Innovator Award for Women in Technology, presented to Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer of Cisco Systems.
The International Museum of Women is an innovative online museum that showcases art, stories and ideas to celebrate, inspire and advance the lives of women around the world. With the support of over 500 guests, IMOW raised over $200,000 to benefit its mission and exhibitions. Guests enjoyed a night of art and inspiration from the museum’s virtual collection, music, networking and dancing, while watching notable female artists create original artwork.
Learn more about the International Museum of Women at www.imow.org
Jay Jeffers recently designed three of the 23 penthouses of the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Lake Tahoe. The homes range from $1,250,000 to $4,500,000 in price.