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The Pulse of the Middle East

The Pulse of the Middle East

Related:  Proche OrientGlobal StudiesGéopolitiqueConflict times: the compelled exile of Syrian artists

The lazy person's guide to saving the world - United Nations Sustainable Development End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Fix climate change. Whoa. The Global Goals are important, world-changing objectives that will require cooperation among governments, international organizations and world leaders. It seems impossible that the average person can make an impact.

Hugh Roberts reviews ‘From Deep State to Islamic State’ by Jean-Pierre Filiu, ‘Syrian Notebooks’ by Jonathan Littell, ‘The Rise of Islamic State’ by Patrick Cockburn and ‘Isis’ by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan · LRB 16 July 2015 Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad dynasty, established by a clan of the Prophet’s tribe to rule the first Islamic empire. Syria is where, in 1516, the absorption of the Arab world into the Ottoman Empire began, with the Ottoman victory in the battle of Marj Dabiq; where the nahda, the cultural renaissance of the Arab world, blossomed in the 19th century; where the unified Arab kingdom that the British promised the Hashemites, who led the 1916-18 Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, was to have its capital. It is where, in the aftermath of the Second World War, the most politically developed and socially radical version of the dream of Arab unity was conceived by the founders of the Arab Socialist Baath (‘resurrection’) Party.

Brazilian Study Of Babies Born With Microcephaly Finds 'Profound Abnormalities' : Goats and Soda Gleyse Kelly da Silva holds her daughter, Maria Giovanna, who was born with microcephaly. Felipe Dana/AP hide caption toggle caption Felipe Dana/AP Gleyse Kelly da Silva holds her daughter, Maria Giovanna, who was born with microcephaly. Felipe Dana/AP

The Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution By Doha Hassan, translated by Robin Moger. The crowds fill the foreground, a river of thin bodies, faces packed between two parallel, receding lines of ruined buildings. The closest face is that of an elderly woman, wearing black shawl on her head. I’ve never seen an exhausted face with quite this kind of parched fatigue before. A Report Covers The Reasons That Millions Of Kids Die Or Suffer. But All The News Isn't Gloomy : Goats and Soda China is one of the countries where childhood mortality is dropping. Above, students practice martial arts. ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images hide caption toggle caption ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images China is one of the countries where childhood mortality is dropping. Above, students practice martial arts. Saudi palace intrigue sparks speculation Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (L) arrives with his uncle King Salman (R) to greet US President Barack Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Jan. 27, 2015. (photo by REUTERS/Jim Bourg) Author: Bruce Riedel Posted May 1, 2015 King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud's unprecedented changes in the Saudi line of succession that benefit his son is raising questions about what might come next in the royal family. A traditional and conservative institution, the House of Saud has seen more personnel changes in the last 100 days than at any previous time.

Isil holds heritage to ransom to fund fighters, US expert warns A US academic working with Syrian heritage has warned that Isil’s tightening grip on heritage sites such as the ancient city of Palmyra indicates its increasing reliance on the sale of plundered cultural objects to generate funds that it previously earned from kidnapping and oil smuggling. Michael Danti, the academic director of the ASOR Syrian Heritage Initiative, a joint project between the US Department of State and the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), says Isil is “holding the site hostage. It’s the kidnap for ransom situation that Isil specialises in. In this case, it’s heritage they’re holding, rather than people.”

Zika Virus Expected to Spread Through the Americas The World Health Organization warned Monday of the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus through the Americas, as scientists rush to better understand the disease’s suspected links to a surge in fetal deformities in Brazil and governments issue travel warnings to pregnant women. Brazilian health officials believe Zika has caused a spike in the number of babies born with microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s brain and head don’t develop to a healthy size, leading to brain damage. Nearly 4,000 cases of microcephaly have been tracked since the outbreak began—more than 30 times the number in a typical year, Reuters reported. The disease was first reported in Brazil in May 2015.

Broken dreams for woman forced to flee IS-held Syria - BBC News Razan became accustomed to the new look imposed on women living in parts of northern Syria that were seized by Islamic State (IS) in 2013. She used to wear modern headscarves with colourful outfits. But the jihadists forced her to wear a long, black abaya, a cloak covering her body, and a niqab, a veil that covered all but the area around her eyes. Economic sharing as a challenge to neoliberal globalisation In the fresh rallying call from civil society for a new future based on sharing, it is interesting to note some old examples of NGO campaigns that call for a more equitable distribution of the world’s resources – such as this Friends of the Earth dialogue from thirteen years ago that recognises how the perennial ethic of sharing is fundamental to redressing the disastrous failure of neoliberal economic policy. Sharing is big talk these days, with social entrepreneurs and many thousands of community groups leveraging the power of information technology to access and ‘share’ rather than own resources – a burgeoning movement that is commonly known as the sharing economy. But it is not only in the worlds of peer-to-peer innovation or community activism that the ethic of sharing is being reinvented, renewed and re-embraced.

Why is Jabhat al-Nusra no longer useful to Turkey? Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra members gesture while posing on a tank in Idlib province, May 17, 2014. (photo by REUTERS/Hamid Khatib) Author: Semih Idiz Posted June 10, 2014