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Thursday, July 29, 2010 Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey   To the President of Syria, Mr. and Mrs. Bashar al-Assad Mr. and Mrs. President Bashar al-Assad: At the tender age of 17 months my severely ill daughter Sofia, an American citizen, was abducted by her mother on Monday, July 26, in Istanbul, Turkey, and taken to Syria. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story I was informed yesterday by Sofia's mother that she will not be coming back to the United States nor will she allow Sofia to return home. Sofia has been diagnosed with a severe medical condition that requires immediate treatment in the United States. It was scheduled to start on July 27, 2010, in New Jersey, the day after her abduction and was supposed to last until she reaches the age of 3. Any delay in the urgently needed treatment will result in a life-long disability for Sofia and make her dependent for the whole of her a... (more)

Uncle Who Kidnapped Sofia to Syria Still a Practicing MD in Chicago

More than a year ago, Sofia was abducted from her home in Lighthouse Point, Florida, by her Syrian National uncle, who is practicing medicine in the Chicago 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 to Florida. Due to a jurisdiction question in court - since Sofia had never lived more than 6 months in one state at the time of her abduction - the judge later gave temporary custody to her mom until the court could determine final jurisdiction between Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois. Sofia at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on her way home after her initial kidnapping from her home in Lighthouse Point, FL, by her uncle who is a practicing MD in the Chicago area. In July 2010, based on this uncle's instructions, Sofia was abducted by her mom to Syria where she ha... (more)

Open Letter from Sofia to First Lady of Syria Asma al-Assad

Thursday, March 3, 2011 Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey To the President of Syria, Mr. and Mrs. Bashar al-Assad Mrs. President and First Lady of Syria Asma al-Assad: I wrote an open letter addressing you and Mr. President seven months ago. I've been informed that you read my letter. I've also been informed that you will read this follow-up letter as well. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story Seven months ago, at the tender age of 17 months, my severely ill daughter Sofia, an American citizen, was abducted by her mother on Monday, July 26, in Istanbul, Turkey, and taken to Syria. Following her abduction, I was informed by Sofia's mother that she will not allow Sofia to return home. Twitter updates on Sofia @FuatKircaali Sofia has been diagnosed with a severe medical condition that requires immediate treatment in the United States. It was scheduled to start on July 27, 2010, in New J... (more)

A Bedtime Story for Sofia Who Remains Abducted in Syria

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)

State Department Photos of My Abducted Daughter Sofia in Syria

Wednesday morning I received new photographs of Sofia from the State Department in Washington, DC. Sofia remains in Syria since being abducted in July 2010. Fox News: ▸ video ▸ story 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. 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 t... (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)

Online Learning Pioneer Picks Up $103M in Funding

Online learning company Lynda.com has gotten $103 million in funding from Accel Partners and equity investor Spectrum Equity. Meritech Capital Partners also participated. It's the first money Lynda has taken from the outside and is meant to push the 17-year-old company into the international arena, which will mean localization, and add to its curriculum. It expects to scale its web and video platform. Its video learning platform, available in monthly and annual subscriptions, teaches computer skills such as 3D and animation, audio, business, design, development, home computing, photography, video and web and interactive design to individuals as well as corporate, government, school and university accounts. It claims more than half of the Fortune 100, all branches of the US military and all cabinet-level departments of the federal government. It has upwards of 200... (more)

New Web 2.0 Distance Learning Site China-8.com Launched; AJAX Meets Online Education

Onsales Global Services Inc. launched China-8.com, an e-learning or distance learning website that is based on emerging Web 2 technologies. The site uses Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) to deliver a new way for students of Chinese and China enthusiasts visiting China for travel or business to study Chinese, communicate, and share their knowledge of Mandarin and of China. China-8.com uses a desktop metaphor to give users a personalized space where they can learn Chinese, put what they have learnt to use using the communication tools, and share their knowledge and experiences of China by uploading photos and videos. Current widgets include multimedia lessons with videos, dialogs, grammar, and interactive exercises; a 3-way multimedia dictionary extensible with user-generated content; smart flashcards with Chinese pinyin and character test modes; a user-generated ... (more)

Son’s Attitude Problems About School

Dear Dr. Fournier: My 10-year-old son is in the fourth grade. He has an attitude problem and I can't seem to get through to him. The teacher gave him two pages of rules to follow and he isn't following them. Furthermore, he refuses to write down things she tells him to write down, which are important. He doesn't want to study or do homework, especially his math homework. He's currently on fractions in school and not doing well. I try to correct his homework but I can't keep doing this or he won't learn. What am I to do with this child? Anne G. Jackson, MS   Dear Anne: When children fail to do what adults want them to do, they may be branded as having an attitude problem. It's a very common complaint among parents who a generation ago would have termed it disobedience. An attitude is a difficult thing to change. Many parents and teachers try lecturing, moralizing, ... (more)

Older Student Finds College A Challenge

Dear Dr. Fournier: Your columns ring very close to home. I have worked very hard since I graduated from college. I have a wife and two children and what I thought was a great job. Each day, I thought I was getting closer to the top of the corporate ladder. I have been willing to do everything necessary in order to get there. Recently, I began to realize that kids straight out of college were suddenly my peers. They were at my level without having to do all the extra work and overtime hours I did to get where I am. As if that were not enough, I was told it was in my best interest to go back to college for an advanced degree. It's been the worst experience. I'm not doing well even though I read everything, take good notes and reread. I'm not making good grades and I don't feel I'm getting anywhere. I feel desperate. Do you have any advice? Dan T. Phoenix, AZ Dear D... (more)

New Version of PowerBuilder eTraining Course Released

eLearnIT LLC released an update to its Essential PowerBuilder Series training course that adds support for Sybase PowerBuilder's latest version 12 Classic. The update is immediately available to all current and future users. Yakov Werde, managing partner of eLearnIT, notes, "It is our intention to remain current with the PowerBuilder product. The course now provides lab exercises and solution sets for both PowerBuilder versions 11.5 and 12.0 Classic. Developers taking the training can pick their lab environment based on the version of PowerBuilder most appropriate to them." To learn more about the course visit http://www.isug.com/common/PBTraining.html ... (more)