Blog archive: All

  • 14th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    An update on events in Yemen. The governor of Saada province says Houthi rebels have kidnapped 15 Red Crescent workers – doctors, nurses and administrators – at a camp for displaced people in al-Anad district. Speaking on state-run television, he said they were blindfolded, beaten and...
  • 13th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Vienna-based International Press Institute has issued a statement criticising the Iraqi government’s draft media law. I haven’t seen the full text (anyone who has a copy please sent it to me) but from what has been reported it contains the usual statements about protecting...
  • 13th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Yemeni authorities have declared a state of emergency throughout Saada province and imposed an evening curfew on Saada city and surrounding towns, the German Press Agency (dpa) reports. Casualties in the government’s new “iron fist” offensive are unclear but dpa and ...
  • 12th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A few weeks ago I was chatting with my friend Nesrine Malik about the dearth of science fiction in Arabic literature. There are certainly elements of fantasy in Arabic literature, going right back to the 
  • 12th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    “Broad offensive”, “iron fist”, “all-out onslaught” … the news agencies are reporting a large-scale government attack on the Houthi rebels (Reuters and dpa) in northern Yemen.  The army launched “aerial, artillery and missile strikes on the strategic heights of Matra and Dhahian,...
  • 11th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Egypt’s real estate tax collectors are due to start an open-ended national strike today. Strikes are commonplace in Egypt but this one is especially significant. The tax collectors won a major victory in 2007 after a series of protests that  … culminated with a 12-day sit-in...
  • 11th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Despite mediation efforts, the Houthi rebellion in northern Yemen shows no sign of abating. President Salih, speaking at a meeting of Yemen’s Supreme Security Committee, warned the rebels “that the continuation of their assaults and attempts to disturb public security and tranquillity...
  • 10th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    No two ways about it: 
  • 10th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A young man blew himself up in Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital, on Saturday evening. Nobody else was killed. It was the country’s first suicide bombing. Some reports suggest the intended target may have been the French embassy and point a finger at Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (...
  • 10th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Mohammad Abdul Fatah, a 73-year-old Egyptian Muslim, has been awarded custody of his seven-year-old grandson because the boy’s parents changed their religion. Following the parents’ conversion to the Baha’i faith, the grandfather sought advice from Egypt’s Grand Mufti, Gulf News says. "...
  • 9th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The United Arab Emirates is seeking to have falconry recognised by Unesco as part of the world’s “intangible heritage”. The application will be submitted to Unesco this month for consideration under the auspices of the international Convention for...
  • 8th August 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    At long last, the system of employers’ sponsorship for foreign workers – a major cause of exploitation in the Arab Gulf states – seems to be coming to an end. Sponsorship, in effect, ties foreign workers (and their continued residence in the country) to a single employer, often with dire...

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