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Diane Macedo of Fox News worked on Sofia's story for more than a month, studying documents, interviewing more than a dozen people, and fact-checking before publishing her news story on Monday and airing our interview. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story On Monday, she also published a detailed article on Sofia that was picked up by a dozen or so media outlets around the world during the week. ▸ Fox News Story on Sofia's Abduction to Syria When Sofia returns safely home, she will pay her first visit to Diane at the Fox News headquarters in New York City. ▸ US Leaves Its Youngest Citizen Behind Syria The following is a short weekend "bedtime story" for my daughter while she still remains abducted in Syria. Twitter updates on Sofia @FuatKircaali One day, during his travels, Daddy found a "little green Swiss frog" on his bed as he arrived in his hotel room. Daddy took the little g... (more)

US Embassy Staff Out Of Syria, Leaving My Two Year-Old Daughter Behind!

The US State Department on Monday said that it has ordered some non-essential US embassy officials in Damascus and all embassy dependents to leave Syria because of the "uncertainty and volatility" in the country. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story As of this morning, and since July 2010, my abducted daughter Sofia Kircaali, a US citizen, remains in Syria and in harm's way. Feras Bankosly, M.D. Last Known Employment Address: Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare Medical Education: University of Aleppo - Syria Over the Easter weekend and on Monday, the Syrian government’s crackdown against protesters and demonstrators appeared to be reaching a crescendo, as President Bashar al-Assad apparently refused to grant any further concessions and seems determined to squelch any further expressions of dissent. Demos against the Syrian regime and Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, Banias... (more)

Next for My American Baby in Syria: A Refugee Camp in Turkey

The US State Department on Monday said that it has ordered some non-essential US embassy officials in Damascus and all embassy dependents to leave Syria because of the "uncertainty and volatility" in the country. On Wednesday Bloomberg reported that "Turkey considers it likely that Syrians may flee the country and has designated areas for refugee camps and hospitals in the cities of Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa and Mardin near the Syrian border, it said. Additional mine-sweeping equipment has been sent to police stations in the area, it said." Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story As of this morning, and since July 2010, my abducted daughter Sofia Kircaali, a US citizen, remains in Syria and in harm's way. Feras Bankosly, M.D. Last Known Employment Address: Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare Medical Education: University of Aleppo - Syria Over the Easter weekend and on Monday, th... (more)

Amazon to Offer Cloud Certification

AWS has launched a new certification program like Microsoft's, Novell's and VMware's. There will be courses available through AWS Training and certification will involve an independently verified test on AWS best practices and the applicant's proficiency in designing, building, deploying and maintaining applications and services on the AWS Cloud. Test center sponsor Kryterion will act as the verifier; it has testing centers in 100 countries. There will be three certifications: Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator and Developer. The first will be architect. The two others will follow later this year. See http://aws.amazon.com/certification. ... (more)

ZapThink Announces Release of Online, Computer-Based SOA Training

ZapThink today announces the availability of its online, computer-based Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) training and credentialing course. In this first-of-its-kind offering, attendees can get access to over 20 hours of self-paced video instruction and slides, online testing and evaluation, and opportunity to submit architectural exercises to ZapThink master architects for grading and assessment. Upon completion of the online course, attendees will receive the same LZA Credential that they would receive if they attended one of ZapThink’s popular in-person training events. "Companies and individuals are looking for vendor-neutral, practical, in-depth training that is affordable and has minimal impact on their resources," said Ronald Schmelzer, Managing Partner with ZapThink, LLC. "ZapThink’s new online, CBT courseware fits the b... (more)

Parents Mean Well But Could Do More Harm

Dear Dr. Fournier: School has started and after only a couple of weeks, my son is having trouble with homework. I do not want my wife and I to get into last year’s shouting matches with him. It seems like every time I try and help him, he gets angry and defensive. What can we do to get our son to let us help him with his homework? James C. Austin, TX Dear James: Many parents have heard their children in frustration say this about homework, “I don’t know how to do it!” The natural inclination of parents is to respond this way: “Then let me help you do it.” Unfortunately, this leads many parents to cross the line of parenting into teaching. Instead of feeling helped, many children feel alone, intimidated and, finally, humiliated. James’ went on to write that his son Jeff had just started learning fractions. Jeff’s teacher assigned 20 problems for homework. Jeff t... (more)

How Much Freedom Should They Have?

Dear Dr. Fournier: My 16-year-old granddaughter has been fairly conscientious about grades and homework up until this year. She got her driver’s license back in January and we watched as her A’s and B’s dropped to B’s and C’s by the time she finished the tenth grade. Now she’s a junior and she’s bringing home even lower grades. For example, she brought home a D on an English test and a C- on a Math test (Math is her best subject). I was already worried but then the next day, she brought home an F on a U.S. History quiz! We’ve given her freedom because we know she’s a young adult but I think she’s shirking her responsibilities and is not devoting enough time to her school and homework. What advice can you give us on how to handle this situation? Mona B. Boise, ID Dear Mona: Although the basic question here is about dividing time and responsibilities, there are two... (more)

Take A Business Approach To Conferences

Dear Dr. Fournier: Report cards are out and I have just received my child's along with a note from his teacher requesting a parent-teacher conference. I've been here before. I remember my first time. I was happy to know the teacher wanted to work with me, but then I went to the meeting and it was horrible. I decided my child should be present, expecting we were ready for solutions. Instead, I sat stunned as she told me how horrible and terrible he was. She had only had him for a little over 6 weeks so how could she know this? I've had him for 11 years and I know he is a kind, caring child. Because of my past experience, I'm afraid to meet with his current teacher. How can I get over my fear and participate in solving my son's educational issues? Lindsey G. St. Paul, MN Dear Lindsey: All too often, the motivation for this type of parent-teacher conference turns par... (more)

My Two-Year-Old Daughter Sofia Facing Life-Long Disability in Syria

The day after my last tweet regarding the lack of any new information about my abducted daughter Sofia since March 4, I received an updated letter on Thursday, April 7, 2011, from the State Department on Sofia's welfare in Syria. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story Sofia was abducted by her mother from the United States to Syria last July, following her diagnosis of GDD with possible autism. She had 13 remaining medical appointments left at the time of her abduction, none of which she was able to keep. Last week's welfare report prepared by our Embassy in Damascus, Syria, after their second welfare visit to the home in Syria where Sofia remains with her mother and grandmother, showed a bleaker outcome for my daughter than the previous report dated November 2010. At two years and two months of age, Sofia still doesn't speak a single word, make or follow simple hand gestures... (more)

Sofia Facing Bloodiest Easter Abducted in Syria

More than a year ago, Sofia was abducted from her home in Lighthouse Point, Florida, by her Syrian National uncle Feras Bankosly, MD, who is practicing medicine in the Chicago, IL, area. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story Last March, a Florida judge issued an order to pick Sofia up from the uncle's house in Chicago and return her to her home in Florida. This weekend my two year-old abducted daughter Sofia remains in the middle of the bloodiest Easter in Syria's history! Demos against the Syrian regime and Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, Banias, Latakia, Douma, and Daraa already left more than 150 dead between Good Friday and the funerals on Saturday, before Easter! Furthermore, it's widely anticipated that due to increasing violence in the country, the U.S. mission in Damascus will be closed before June, 2011. Turkey will also close its border with Syria by June, 2... (more)

Cloud Computing in Higher Education

The irony about cloud computing in the higher education environment is that most schools have already been using it to some extent but may not even realize it. Gmail is one example. Yahoo Mail is another. The fact is web-based applications, which many schools rely on for daily communication, don't always register with most people as being part of the cloud computing trend. But they are, given that they essentially fit the layman's rudimentary explanation of the cloud: where storage and computing capacity exist (provided by a vendor) so all that is needed on a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone is a browser. There are more "technical details" to actual cloud infrastructure, platforms and delivery, but for the purposes here, we will stick with the basic view. There's no question that cloud computing usage has exploded and will continue unabated. An article in the Sep... (more)