Reuters blog archive
Saudi King Abdullah's lavish social handouts and a boost to security and religious police, but no political change, leaves his prized reputation as a reformist in tatters, analysts say.
The king, believed to be 87, has carefully crafted an image as a cautious reformer in a country ruled by a single generation of his brothers as absolute monarchs for nearly six decades. But faced with unrest rocking much of the Arab world, he is playing the old game of buying support from key sectors of society to keep family rule as it is.
In a rare TV address to the nation last Friday, the king announced the new spending but gave no concessions on rights in a country where public space is dominated by the royal family, political parties are banned and there is no elected parliament.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
(The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the author’s alone. The writer is Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK)
SHAHBAZ BHATTI: A TRIBUTE TO A BRAVE HEART
By Wajid Shamsul Hasan
Shahbaz Bhatti’s memorial meeting at the Pakistan High Commission (March 16) was a profoundly sad occasion for all to remember a person who laid down his life for a united and strong Pakistan.
A Tibetan Buddhist monk burnt himself to death in western China Wednesday, triggering a street protest against government controls on the restive region, a group campaigning for Tibetan self-rule said. The self-immolation appeared to be a small repeat of protests that gripped Tibetan areas of China in March 2008, when Buddhist monks and other Tibetan people loyal to the exiled Dalai Lama, their traditional religious leader, confronted police and troops.
The 21-year-old, named Phuntsog, was a monk in Aba, a mainly ethnic Tibetan part of Sichuan province that erupted in defiance against Chinese control three years ago. The monk "immolated himself today in protest against the crackdown," said Kate Saunders of the International Campaign for Tibet, a London-based organisation.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
After two assassinations, Pakistani politicians are finally beginning to address tensions over the country's blasphemy laws.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in an interview politicians should be able to reach a cross-party consensus on preventing the misuse of the blasphemy laws, as proposed by Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman, head of the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) religious party. "Its misuse is being, of course, taken into account and the party leaders are going to sit together as proposed by Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman ... and I hope this matter can be thrashed out, whenever this meeting takes place."
from Oddly Enough Blog:
Check it out. A new edition of the Bible, available tomorrow, is replacing words such as "booty" and "holocaust" to "better reflect modern understanding."
I am not making this up.
"Holocaust" is being changed to "burnt offerings," so that readers who are easily confused won't think the Bible is talking about the 1940s Holocaust.
Turkish immigrants in Germany should integrate into society but not assimilate to the point where they abandon their native culture, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on a visit to Germany on Sunday. Speaking to some 10,000 members of Germany's large Turkish community in the wake of last year's heated debate over the place of foreigners in the country, Erdogan took up the theme of integration amid what he sees as persistent European xenophobia.
from Good, Bad, and Ugly:
You have the wrong information in a photo caption.
The Photo is Benedict XVI praying in front of tomb of John Paul I. John Paul II is buried in ground, and has a slanting tombstone.
Indeed. We corrected the photo caption: GBU Editor
from Good, Bad, and Ugly:
Mubarak likely to quit, Brotherhood fears coup
CAIRO, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak looked likely to step down on Thursday after more than two weeks of protests against his 30-year rule and the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood said it looked like there had been a military coup.
"Islamist Muslim Brotherhood" (in re Egypt and elsewhere) seems rather redundant, as the existence of a non-Islamist Muslim Brotherhood would seem to be something of an oxymoron.
Saudi teenager Abdulrahman Saeed lives in one of the richest countries in the world, but his prospects are poor, he blames his education, and it's not a situation that looks like changing soon. "There is not enough in our curriculum," says Saeed, 16, who goes to an all-male state school in the Red Sea port of Jeddah. "It is just theoretical teaching, and there is no practice or guidance to prepare us for the job market."
Saeed wants to study physics but worries that his state high school is failing him. He says the curriculum is outdated, and teachers simply repeat what is written in text books without adding anything of practical value or discussions. Even if the teachers did do more than the basics, Saeed's class, at 32 students, is too big for him to get adequate attention. While children in Europe and Asia often start learning a language at five or six, Saudi students start learning English at 12. Much time is spent studying religion and completing exercises heavy with moral instruction.
An iPhone app aimed at helping Catholics through confession and encouraging lapsed followers back to the faith has been sanctioned by the Catholic Church in the United States.