Blog archive: All

  • 2nd March 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On Friday the OPCW's fact-finding mission issued its final report on alleged chemical attacks in the rebel-held Syrian town of Douma last April.  Dozens of people were reportedly killed by a release of toxic chemicals and the US, Britain and France responded shortly afterwards with...
  • 1st March 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    When the Arab Spring uprisings broke out in 2011 there were riots in Algeria, as elsewhere in the region. But while the leaders of three neighbouring countries – Tunisia, Egypt and Libya – were toppled the regime of Abdelaziz Bouteflika survived relatively unscathed. Although Algeria...
  • 26th February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Large-scale protests are continuing in Algeria against President Bouteflika. Now aged 81 and in poor health, he has been president since 1999 is seeking re-election for a fifth term in office (see previous blog post). Today student demonstrations are being organised though there are reports of...
  • 25th February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In many parts of the world whether you believe in God or not, whether you practise a religion or not, is seen as a personal choice – and a choice that everyone is free to make. This basic principle is set out in article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which says everyone has...
  • 24th February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been president of Algeria since 1999. Now aged 81 and in poor health, he is seeking a fifth term in office. The ruling FLN party has already adopted him as its candidate for the election in April and other sections of the political establishment have declared their...
  • 20th February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A 20-year-old student has been detained in Algeria, accused of murdering a fellow student in an apparent homophobic attack.  The suspect, who has not been named, appeared briefly in court on Monday and was remanded in custody awaiting trial. If convicted, he could face the death penalty...
  • 13th February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Last December Egypt's minister of culture, Ines Abdel-Dayem, went into battle against sectarianism – armed with a flute. The minister, who is a former director of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra and a former chair of the Cairo Opera House, played her favourite instrument at a concert in Minya...
  • 12th February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Twenty-one-year-old Algerian student Assil Belalta was murdered on Sunday night in what appears to have been a homophobic killing. According to friends who discovered his body, his throat had been slit and the words "He is gay" were daubed in blood on the wall of his room. The Algerian...
  • 11th February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Jeff Bezos, the American multi-billionaire who claims he was the target of a blackmail attempt, has been talking mysteriously of a possible Saudi connection. On January 9, Bezos and his wife jointly announced they were divorcing after 25 years of marriage. Next day, the National Enquirer, a...
  • 6th February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The British government has refused a visa for a Sudanese writer who was due to spend a term at Durham University as a Visiting Fellow. Hammour Ziada, who writes in Arabic, is the author of two published novels and two collections of short stories. His most recent work, Shuq al-Darwish ("The...
  • 4th February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Proposed constitutional changes in Egypt, announced at the weekend, could keep President Sisi in power until 2034. Sisi is currently in the second of two four-year terms and, if the constitution remains unchanged, he must leave office in 2022. Under the proposals submitted to parliament...
  • 1st February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In Saudi Arabia it's not uncommon for a man to divorce his wife without telling her. This isn't because Saudi men are especially forgetful – it's a way of avoiding expense, since an ex-wife who thinks she is still married can't claim alimony or other entitlements. To put a stop to this abuse...

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