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28 Dec 2011 11:37


World: Iran threatens major waterway in fight against U.S. sanctions

  • Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces. Iran has comprehensive control over the strategic waterway.
  • Iranian Adm. Habibollah Sayyari • Claiming that Iran has the ability to close the Strait of Hormuz, a major waterway that’s extremely important for the distribution of one-sixth of the world’s oil. Sayyari’s threats come as Iran worries that the U.S. and its allies will start to sanction Iran’s all-important oil supply out of frustration with the country’s controversial nuclear program. Congress recently passed a bill to sanction the country’s central bank, which Obama plans to sign despite having misgivings about the effects it might have. As tensions continue to rise over Iran’s nuclear program, could military action become an option for the U.S.? source

31 Oct 2011 14:58


World: United Nations agency admits Palestine as member; US cuts funding in response

  • A step forward for Palestine? Today, the United Nations agency UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) admitted Palestine as a full member. In response, the United States is cutting off all funding to the agency. This will effectively gut one-fourth of UNESCO’s budget. The move is in accordance with US law, which prohibits the government from funding any organization that includes Palestine as a member, prior to the reaching of an Israeli-Palestine peace agreement. Nevertheless, both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas hailed the decision. source

18 Oct 2011 10:15


World: Israel: Gilad Shalit freed, along with hundreds of Palestinians

  • I thought that I would find myself in this situation many more years. If they wanted to secure my freedom, they had to pay a price for this.
  • Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit • Discussing his situation on Egyptian television this morning after getting freed from captivity in the Gaza Strip. Freedom for Shalit, who was there for five years, did cost Israel immensely — they had to release over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners to allow for his freedom. Nearly 500 were freed today. In Palestine, those prisoners were welcomed with cheers by Hamas — while Shalit’s own return was much more subdued, with Israeli officials concerned that freeing so many prisoners at once could cause security issues. source

17 Oct 2011 11:45


World: Israel’s prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit draws heavy controversy

  • 1,000 number of Palestinian prisoners expected to be freed in an exchange with Israel; as you might guess, this is controversial for some
  • one number of Israeli prisoners expected to be freed in exchange; this one, however, is Gilad Shalit, whose plight is fairly well-known source
  • » The fight goes to court: While Shalit’s parents fight for his freedom, families of the victims of militants in Israel aren’t exactly quite happy with this situation, and are trying to fight it in court. It’s unlikely the court is willing to fix this, but Israeli leaders are trying to soft-pedal this nonetheless. “I understand the difficulty in accepting that the vile people who committed the heinous crimes against your loved ones will not pay the full price they deserve,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in a letter to families affected by the exchange.

25 Sep 2011 10:37


World: Saudi Arabia: What women can and can’t do in the country

  • can Vote, and run for office, in local elections. King Abdullah has opened up a significant route of social reform for women in the country, which is incredibly conservative to this day.
  • can’t Drive. Leave the country on their own. Work without approval from a male guardian. And so on. While the equality movement has gained a significant victory today, it has a very long way to go. source

11 Sep 2011 21:51


World: Al Jazeera sister network raided by Egyptian officials; network defiant

  • If broadcasting the truth is considered endangering stability, then it is an honor for any media outlet to be endangering stability.
  • Ahmed Zein, manager of Al Jazeera Live Egypt • Sounding defiant amidst a raid that took the network off the air on Sunday. The raid was not without warning — a couple of weeks before, the country’s minister of media, Osama Heikal, said that it would take actions against media outlets that “endanger the stability and security” of the country — which one could argue the happened with last week’s attack on the Israeli embassy. Al Jazeera Live Egypt is a fairly new sister network that cropped up in reaction to the Egyptian revolution, seen in the West as a coming out party for the Qatar-based network. The affiliate focuses on street protests. source

10 Sep 2011 13:15


World: Egypt enacts security measures after violence around Israeli embassy

  • three people killed in the attack on the Israeli Embassy in the Cairo suburb of Giza
  • 1,000+ people injured in the incident — a level so high it made us do a double-take
  • 19 people arrested for their alleged roles in the attack, which hurt Egypt-Israeli relations source
  • » Emergency measures in place: In the wake of the attack, Egypt has enacted measures to speed up the response to the incident — including pushing those arrested through an emergency state security court. The country seems to be doing everything it can to prevent an international crisis over this. “About 95 percent of the Egyptians are disgusted at the attack on the embassy and any other violence that took place,” noted Hisham Kassem, a veteran editor and publisher in the region. “Even commentators who appeared on channels like Jazeera … who normally have a very anti-Israeli position, were saying, ‘This is wrong. We can’t attack an embassy.'”

06 Sep 2011 10:33


World: Turkey: We’re severing all ties with Israel, the “spoiled boy” of the Middle East

  • We are completely suspending all of these, trade relations, military relations, related with the defense industry. All of these are completely suspended and other measures will follow this process.
  • Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan • Explaining why his country would be placing additional sanctions on Israel, which he compared to a “spoiled boy.” The two countries were once close allies, but one flotilla raid later, and all that’s out the window. It’s a pretty dramatic change if you ask us. source

04 Sep 2011 11:55


World: Big news: Iran’s energy grid officially includes nuclear power

  • what Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant has just connected to the country’s grid for the first time, making it the first time the Middle East has produced its own nuclear power.
  • when The plant “joined the national grid” at 11:29 p.m. last night (that was 2:59 p.m. Eastern), and will have a ceremony to inaugurate the plant on September 12. source

07 Jul 2011 14:03


World: Recovering Yemeni President Saleh shows up on television

  • President Ali Abdullah Saleh showed up on Yemeni television in a prerecorded speech about his health. He was wounded and severely burned in a bomb blast at his palace earlier this month, and has gone through 8 surgeries since then. He’s making the speech to ensure the people of Yemen that he is recovering, but it’s unclear how true that is — he hasn’t been seen in public since the incident last month. (Photo via Aljazeera) source