Latest News

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 11:28
by Mairav Zonszein 22 November 2011 New York, New York - An absurdist play about two people waiting for someone who never shows up, performed in Arabic by young Palestinian actors, directed by a Jewish Israeli filmmaker and presented on a New York City stage: this was the scene the night of 18 October at Columbia University’s Miller Theater in New York City as the Jenin Freedom Theatre made its US debut with a rendition of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, entitled While Waiting. The troupe of actors delivered a powerful performance that utilised Beckett’s minimalist and open-ended seminal work to express the ceaseless waiting that characterises their identity as Palestinians from a refugee camp in the West Bank. It also movingly touched on how their lives have been impacted by the murder last April of the theatre’s founder and director, Juliano Mer Khamis, by a Palestinian gunman. Mer Khamis, an Israeli actor and filmmaker born to a Jewish...Read More
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 11:25
Virginia M. Bouvier November 17, 2011   As I was preparing to leave for Colombia, a headline caught my eye - “Keila Esther Berrío Almanza, member of the League of Displaced Women in the municipality of Turbaco, Bolívar, assassinated.”  There were few details about the killing. It did highlight that Keila had lived in the City of Women.    Just a week before reading of the assassination I had made plans with Patricia Guerrero, the dynamic lawyer who founded the League of Displaced Women, to visit the City of Women, outside the port city of Cartagena.     After Patricia greeted me, she asked a revealing question.  “I am so sorry, Ginny,” she said.  “Do you mind terribly if we are accompanied by body guards?”     In Colombia’s rural areas and cities alike, armed accompaniment is not as rare as one might think.  Women and human rights defenders are increasingly...Read More
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 11:21
by Sally Zohney 22 November 2011 Cairo - After this year, the image of the Egyptian woman, especially when it comes to politics, will never be the same again. Since 25 January there has been an overwhelming amount of media coverage of women’s participation in protests across Egypt, including mothers who felt it was safe to bring their newborns to protest sites, young female students painting the faces of family members and revolutionaries, and female doctors taking care of the wounded overnight in freezing temperatures. Though the country is still under military rule, in which human rights are not adequately respected and a lack of political pressure persists, women are continuing to push the envelope and are making sure that their voices can still be heard in the political sphere. One woman, former television news anchor, radio host and current activist Bothaina Kamel, is breaking new ground by becoming the first woman in Egypt to run for president, an effort...Read More
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 11:18
by Naava Mashiah 22 November 2011 Geneva - Only recently, I would not have thought of writing an article about an Israeli visitor to Turkey as it was not considered a rare occurrence. Yet when I landed in Turkey in late October to attend the Istanbul Forum I felt I was crossing into unchartered territory. The ‘sabre rattling’ between Israel and Turkey following the event last year on the Mavi Marmara, a protest flotilla bound for Gaza in which nine Turkish citizens were killed, has taken relations between the two countries to an all time low. Turkey has demanded an apology from Israel and the latter has refused to do so, saying that its soldiers were attacked when they boarded the ship. Since the incident, the number of Israeli tourists to Turkey has dropped dramatically and Turkey has pulled its tourist attaché from Tel Aviv. Contrary to what the international media would lead us to think, however, it became quickly clear that Israel is not the centre...Read More
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 11:17
by Murat Daoudov 22 November 2011 Istanbul, Turkey - As a forerunner of the Arab Spring, Tunisia has offered a pioneering example for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. After sparking the MENA revolutions, it rapidly stepped into a post-revolutionary phase by organising the first democratic elections in the region. Moreover, it is in Tunisia that Islamic political parties and activists, who have long been used as an excuse to justify dictatorial regimes in other countries, gained power democratically. And just as Tunisia’s revolt proved contagious across the region, the outcome of the recent Tunisian vote will likely influence the upcoming elections in Egypt and Morocco. At this critical stage, there is a great deal the country can learn from Turkey, which has provided a successful model linking both democracy and Islamic political parties. Three major types of challenges await Tunisia at this transitional phase: democratic, economic and demographic....Read More
Friday, November 18, 2011 - 13:54
  By Associated Press, Published: November 10 | Updated: Friday, November 11, 7:22 AM   MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s hyperviolent Zetas drug cartel appears to be launching what may be one of the first campaigns by an organized crime group to silence commentary on the Internet.   The cartel has already attacked rivals, journalists and other perceived enemies. Now, the target is an online chat room, Nuevo Laredo en Vivo, that allows users to comment on the activities of the Zetas and others in the city on the border with Texas.   Already, three apparent site users have been slain, and a fourth victim may have been discovered Wednesday, when a man’s decapitated body was found with what residents said was a banner suggesting he was killed for posting on the site. Chat room users said they could not immediately confirm the victim’s identity, because people all post under aliases.   Despite such...Read More
Friday, November 18, 2011 - 12:02
By MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press – Nov 10, 2011 FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday sided with government attorneys investigating the disclosure of classified documents on WikiLeaks, and upheld a ruling that the website Twitter must turn over certain account information to prosecutors. Lawyers for three Twitter account holders, all of whom have some connection to WikiLeaks, had argued that forcing Twitter to cooperate with the investigation by turning over the data amounts to an invasion of privacy and chills Twitter users' free speech rights. But in a 60-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady in Alexandria, Va., affirmed an opinion issued in March by a federal magistrate that the government's tactics were permissible. Prosecutors have said federal law specifically allows them to seek account information and say it is a routine investigative tool. The law in question— the Stored Communications Act — allows...Read More
Friday, November 18, 2011 - 12:01
BY NATALIA YEFIMOVA-TRILLING | NOVEMBER 11, 2011   BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — On Nov. 2, Nic Tanner seemed like a lucky guy: He'd spent all of three weeks in Kyrgyzstan -- an impoverished, landlocked squiggle of a country on the fringes of the former Soviet empire -- and had already managed to publish a photoon the homepage of the New York Times. He was 27, paid $9 a night for his hotel room, and was just starting to pull together a professional portfolio in a place he loved. Life looked good.   Nic was based in the southern city of Osh, a scruffy provincial town of 260,000 nestled along a major drug-exporting route from Afghanistan. In June 2010, Osh had been the epicenter of interethnic carnage that left more than 400 dead and thousands homeless. For months afterward, the bereaved passed around photos of scorched, mutilated bodies that had once, possibly, belonged to people they loved. The city's burly mayor and local security forces were accused by...Read More
Friday, November 18, 2011 - 11:55
Peter Beaumont Sunday 13 November 2011 20.00 GMT It first happened in Spain in the late 1930s: a conflict that acted as the starting point for a generation of reporters. Vietnam was another, as were with the wars in the Balkans. Now, to that list must now be added Libya, where the fighting has recently come to an end.   According to some estimates, at one point some 400 journalists and photographers were based in Benghazi as freelancers, many of them covering their first conflict.   That has prompted an intense debate about both the responsibilities of news organisations using freelances and the individual responsibility of freelances themselves, triggered by a blog by New York Times photographer Michael Kamber on the Times's Lens Blog site.   Kamber's piece was in itself prompted by a conversation that he had had with the British photographer Tim Hetherington, who would later be killed along with Chris Hondros covering the fighting in Misrata and had...Read More
Friday, November 18, 2011 - 11:48
By Simon Atkinson Business reporter, BBC News LuaLua TV is using technology to make sure that although the service is blocked in Bahrain, every effort is made to broadcast as widely as possible. Rim Abdolah delivers her news bulletin with admirable gusto for a woman who knows hardly any of the target audience is watching.   The Lualua TV presenter has been with the station since its launch in July. Aimed at people in Bahrain, it carries news and talk shows about the country. But since its inception, it has only managed to reach to televisions in the Gulf kingdom for four hours - before the signal was blocked.   "As a broadcaster I'm very upset and frustrated because we try to work hard to put our work out to let everyone see it, especially in Bahrain," Miss Abdolah says. "But it's very disappointing, no-one in Bahrain can see us."   Reports from the satellite provider show the signal is being blocked...Read More
Friday, November 18, 2011 - 10:52
Sidrah Roghay Wednesday, November 16, 2011 Karachi As a delegation of 22 journalists from Mumbai were welcomed at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, a declaration of cooperation was signed under which journalists agreed to use acceptable language while reporting events in both countries and to eliminate words which propagate hate speech. In a historic move, the presidents of the Karachi and Mumbai press clubs, Tahir Hasan Khan and Prakash Akolkar, respectively, decided that measures to improve cooperation between journalists from both countries should be taken. This will involve exchange programmes for journalists of the two cities every alternate year which would offer internships for young journalists, the exchange of national literature and strengthening of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc). “The people who are there to protect the borders should do their duty. We are here to extend our friendship and do our duty,” said Tahir...Read More
Friday, November 18, 2011 - 10:43
By HEIDI VOGT, Associated Press KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — One woman is doing 12 years in prison for being the victim of a rape. The second is in jail for running from an abusive husband. Both say they want to tell their stories, and yet a film about their plight has been scrapped, sparking controversy about how committed the international community is to fighting for women's rights in Afghanistan.   The documentary, "In-Justice: The Story of Afghan Women in Jail," was commissioned by the European Union, which has now decided not to release it. The EU says the two women in the film would be in danger if it were shown. But critics say politics is also at work and accuse the EU of abandoning a women's rights project for fear it could damage its relationship with the Afghan government.   The film tells a disturbing tale. One of the women profiled is a 19-year-old who was raped and impregnated by a cousin. She was not married and got a 12-year...Read More
Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 12:30
Jean-Louis De La Vaissiere October 28, 2011 AFP Religious leaders have joined with Pope Benedict XVI to denounce violence perpetrated in the name of their faiths, amid growing religious fanaticism across the world. "No more violence, no more war, no more terrorism! Never again! In the name of God, that every religion bring justice and peace, forgiveness and life and love to the world!" the Pope said at a ceremony in the Saint Francis basilica in Assisi, Italy on Thursday. The colourful crowd of religious representatives had taken a special train from Vatican City to Assisi, where Buddhist monks mixed with turbaned Sikhs, black-frocked patriarchs and Catholic cardinals in their red skullcaps. The small group that waited under a leaden sky in the northern Italian city to meet them off the train was a far shout from the welcome crowd that greeted John Paul II at inter-religious councils in 1986 and 2002. A frail-looking Benedict robed in white was the last...Read More
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 14:50
by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed 15 November 2011 London/Doha - Multiculturalism has come under increasing attack in the last few years in Europe, as societies struggle to make sense of how to bring together communities of diverse backgrounds. German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared multiculturalism a ”failure” and her sentiments were echoed by British, Italian and French leaders. Their comments came following rising far-right sentiment against the growing Muslim populations in these countries. Theos, a public theology think tank based in the UK, released a report this October, “Multiculturalism: A Christian Retrieval”, which calls on political leaders to support multiculturalism, asserting that it is the only way to deal with today’s diverse societies. Borrowing the definition from Tariq Modood, one of the leading authorities on ethnic minorities in Britain, the report refers to multiculturalism as “the political accommodation of...Read More
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 14:21
by Natalia Simanovsky 15 November 2011 Tel Aviv - Pictures of unarmed demonstrators clashing with police and security forces have become the defining images of the Arab Spring. The wave of mass protests and demonstrations has led to the collapse of despotic regimes including those led by Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. In all three cases, the overthrow of these leaders did not come at the hand of the military – the traditional guardian of revolution and political change in the Middle East – but through civil society. In fact, with the orchestration of the Arab Spring, civil society is proving to be a major player in domestic and regional politics. Although its influence on politics and policy should not be overestimated, civil society’s growing role in shaping policy in the Middle East is creating new potential for cooperation among civil society networks between states, and perhaps...Read More
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 14:19
by Kaya Genç 15 November 2011 Istanbul, Turkey - Who could have imagined that one day pedestrians in Istanbul’s most artistic and liberal neighbourhood of Cihangir would stumble upon a massive wall of graffiti that read, simply and terrifyingly, “Exterminate all Kurds”? That day came earlier this month. Something has happened in Turkey that has made racism, once again, an everyday occurrence. Yet there are concrete steps that can be taken to halt a seemingly endless cycle of hatred. Turkey’s 30-year conflict with Kurdish separatists has created an ideal habitat for racism. Ethnically different from the majority of Turks, many Kurds have supported a political movement that has aimed, among other things, to legalise the use of the Kurdish language and expand Kurdish rights in the public sphere. Kurds have also felt discriminated against in terms of where they could live and the schools they could enrol in. One radical group, the Kurdistan...Read More
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 14:16
by Azeem Ibrahim 15 November 2011 London - Earlier this year British Prime Minister David Cameron criticised ”state multiculturalism” for encouraging people of different cultures, including Muslims, to live separate lives. While this does not in itself sound harmful, the speech went on to suggest that it was time for ”less passive tolerance” and ”more active, muscular liberalism” when dealing with extremism – either advertently or inadvertently linking extremism with culture. His target seemed to be community-based counterterrorism programmes, which he felt were accepting government funding but doing little to prevent extremism. Community-based counterterrorism, however, has a proven track record in preventing terrorist incidents, with the communities themselves being the first to condemn criminal activity in their desire for peace. For example, Muslim communities in the United States have helped foil close to a third of Al Qaeda...Read More
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 14:15
by Tareq Oubrou 15 November 2011 Bordeaux, France - Why does the public expression of Islam pose a problem – not just in France, but all over Europe? Yesterday, it was the construction of minarets in Switzerland; the day before, it was the headscarf. Today, it is the demand for halal (permissible according to Islamic law) meat in canteens and banned street prayers that have fuelled a sense of exclusion and led to tensions within French society. It’s in this context that a new report on Islam in the Arab majority French suburbs was published in October. Titled “Suburbs of the Republic”, this report by Gilles Kepel, a French political analyst specialising in Islam and the contemporary Arab world, comes a few months before the French presidential election, and confronts both politicians and Muslims with reciprocal responsibilities. ”Suburbs of the Republic”, which addresses some of the issues regarding Muslim integration in France since...Read More
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 11:02
Dost Bardouille-Crema September 30, 2011 | 8:36am Companies have an abiding interest in establishing peace and stability as the foundations for investment, reducing risk and, ultimately, the returns that they can offer to shareholders. In investment and operational decisions, businesses must consider both the impact their presence will have on conflict dynamics and security and also the impacts that conflict may have on their ability to be productive and operate safely. Where companies have established operations or are considering investment in environments of conflict, they inevitably become an integral part of the dynamics of conflict; their resources and revenues often become contested assets and a primary means through which hostilities are sustained. In these cases, economic factors often motivate Armed Non State Actors (ANSAs), who may greatly influence the onset, course and resolution of armed conflict.[1]   An International Peace Academy study found...Read More
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 10:46
October 31, 2011 | 8:59am This blog post comes from Del Fitchett, Independent Economics Consultant and former Senior Economist at the World Bank. Since its inception after World War II, the World Bank has morphed from a financial intermediary for capital formation in war-ravaged states, to a provider of development lending in the 1980s and 1990s, and is currently devoting significant staff resources to managing the disbursement of bilateral and multilateral trust funds.  Operationally, this has meant that the Bank may have eroded its capacities in the areas of investment design and evaluation. This could have a potentially worrisome impact on the Bank’s effectiveness. According to the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Office, over the period 1970 to 2001, the percentage of Bank Group projects for which cost/benefit analysis was prepared fell from about 80% to 30%. In fact, a decade or so ago the Bank had to once more start training its staff in project...Read More

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