Monday, May 31, 2010

Top Stories May 31, 2010

Al-Ahram (Egypt): Notes on the Nile - an article about the nations on the Nile, and utilizing its waters. [Note: this is a weekly magazine, not a daily.]

Jerusalem Post: Barak: Flotilla organizers to blame for 15 dead activists - There were 6 ships, but one of them was run by the IHH. Israel says the IHH attacked them and they were defending themselves.

Russian News Agency: Russia slams Israel over deadly raid on aid ship - Russia decries the attack and calls for an end to the blockade.

The BBC Middle East page has links to the current situation, as well as background info on the blockade of Gaza.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Israel attacks aid ships?

I rarely comment on the situation in Palestine-Israel, because anyone who says anything bad about Israel is generally called an anti-Semite, and even academics have been known to have trouble finding jobs because of what they have said. So here goes:

The Gaza Strip has been sealed off for several years now, effectively making it into a large prison. Israel says it has been doing this to stop Hamas, although it does not seem to be working. Israel claims that Gaza is fine and does not need any humanitarian help. Today, several aid ships set sail to the port at Gaza to deliver various supplies, ranging from water purifiers to cement. Israel said it would stop them. According to several sources (Turkish Daily News, Haaretz, BBC, World Bulletin (Turkish)) Israel attacked the ships and there may be dozens injured and another dozen dead. Reports are still sketchy. This set off an angry protest in Istanbul, at the Israeli consulate.

I'm looking forward to what the mainstream US media will say about this situation, assuming they cover it all, since Monday is Memorial Day. More later.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Yemen Roundup

Alright, let's do a Yemen roundup, since they've really made the news this week.

An American-Yemeni cleric who is probably part of al-Qa'eda has called for Muslims to kill Americans around the world. He also has links to the Fort Hood shooter, and the underwear bomber.

The deputy governor of Maarib province was trying to get an al-Qa'eda member to surrender. Unfortunately, he was accidentally killed by the Yemeni army, who was trying to bomb the militant. The local tribes were really upset about the deputy governor, so they blew up an oil pipeline.

The Yemeni government is helping UNICEF and others in their push to keep young girls in school. In some areas, young girls quit school early to work, so that their brothers can continue to get an education. Since one of the primary ways to get children educated is to have an educated mother, this is a very big deal. If you educate a man, you generally have one person educated. But if you educate a woman, who is staying at home raising children, then she in turn begins to educate the children. And it shows girls that they are worth an education because their mother has one.

Women's Rights in the Middle East

For all of those people who think that women's rights in the Middle East are abysmal (which they are in some areas) here's a news story courtesy of the BBC: "West Bank rabbi bans women from local election." Apparently a woman wanted to run for the position of community secretary, so she wrote her local rabbi to ask permission. He then wrote a letter in their local newsletter saying that women could not run for election, because that would give a woman authority, and women cannot have authority! In marriage, men have the authority.

As you can imagine, a number of Israeli women are upset by his comments. Personally, I found this slightly amusing. I'm completely for women's rights, let me state that first. But considering how many times Israel is held up as a modern state in the backwards Middle East, it's ironic when a rabbi starts acting like one of those "backward imams." Pot, meet kettle.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Update: Yemen: American Couple Kidnapped

According to the BBC, the couple has now been released. The BBC didn't say if the tribe's demands had been met, but the Yemen Times had a big article about the president releasing a number of political prisoners and members of the press. Yemen separated into North and South Yemen, only to reunite in 1990. But they've never really solidified the union. There was a civil war in 1994, there has been a tribal uprising, and al-Qaeda has a significant presence there too. Add poverty to that, and it's a mess. It's really a shame, because it's a beautiful country and has several areas designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Women's Rights in Yemen

I came across this article while looking up information on the kidnapped Americans. Apparently, the fight for women's rights has finally reached the rural community in Yemen. Some of the men are complaining that their women are rebelling. The women are just excited that they have rights and are now demanding them. They even stopped the marriage of a 12-year-old girl, by convincing her to defy her father by not giving her consent to the marriage. Be sure to check it out.

Yemen: American Couple Kidnapped

Two American tourists were kidnapped in Yemen, in the capital city of Sanaa. This is not unusual for Yemen, unfortunately. In the last decade, there have been a number of kidnappings. The good news is that the kidnappers are tribesmen. The tribes have kidnapped people in the past, for political reasons, and these peoples are generally returned in good health. It's been when Al-Qaeda kidnaps people in Yemen that they die. So, as scary as the situation is for the families, it will probably turn out alright.

This hasn't showed up in the Yemen Times yet, but they do have an article on two Chinese men who had been kidnapped and are now free.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Top Stories May 24, 2010

Hurriyet (Turkey): Turkish mine explosion coverage 'exaggerated,' PM says - apparently there was a mine explosion last week and several miners were killed. I'm not sure how that gets "exaggerated." If you read this article, be sure to check out the first comment - it's a doozy!

The Jordan Times: King urges active participation in polls - parliamentary elections are being held later this year, and the king wants people to get out and vote. And yes, women can vote in Jordan. According to the CIA World Factbook, their House of Representatives has 110 seats and "6 seats are reserved for women, 9 seats are reserved for Christian candidates, 9 seats are reserved for Bedouin candidates, and 3 seats are reserved for Jordanians of Chechen or Circassian descent.

Haaretz (Israel): Report: Israel offered to sell nuclear weapons to apartheid South Africa - well, I certainly was not expecting this headline on the front page. This article quotes an article from The Guardian (UK) about a new book from an American researcher who found documents on nuclear talks between Israel and South Africa in the 1970s. Apparently a nuclear deal didn't quite go through, but Israel did sell tritium to SA and there may have been a joint nuclear test in late 1979.

Where did all the newspapers go?

I thought I'd get a start on a Monday Top Stories post, but it appears that quite a few of my news links are out of date. I'll try to get those updated, and have a Top Stories post for tomorrow.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Coming Soon!

I've spent the last year dealing with a serious health issue and family tragedy, but I am doing much better now. The Gator will be returning shortly, insha'allah!