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Egypt's slums, gender violence mark the UNFPA report urbanization worries

CAIRO: According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 2008 is the first year in history that will see the majority of the world’s population living in cities. A picture of camel riders in the desert, advancing towards the sprawling Cairo metropolis graced the glossy guidebook-like cover of 2007 report. One major element of the …

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Basic needs met in Gaza but economy near collapse

JERUSALEM: While humanitarian aid flows into the Gaza Strip are meeting most of the basic needs of the Palestinians, industries are unable to export their goods. This has lead to mass layoffs and unemployment in the already impoverished enclave. Businessmen in Gaza speak of over 30,000 layoffs as a result of the lockdown on the …

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Carnegie Endowment report says Egypt is ready for democracy

CAIRO: With an inevitable political turnover facing Egypt’s incumbent regime, the time may be ripe for a new wave of democratization and political liberalization, claim three experts from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In a policy paper published on July 3, the three senior associates, Michele Dunne, Amr Hamzawy, and Nathan J. Brown, argue …

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I want to ride my bicyclette – in Paris

Associated Press It was a perfect Paris moment: The rain cleared, the sky filled with blue, and I was flying across town on a bicycle, past the Louvre, along the River Seine, through a public garden and up a cobblestone market street. As a tourist in Paris, it s easy to spend at least an …

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SCI TECH SCENE: Webkinz site not just for kids

Associated Press For about a week my six-year-old son, Mark, was having a grand old time on Webkinz, one of several children s websites that have exploded in popularity in the last year or so. Then it dawned on him. His online pet, a gorilla named Ben, was playing games like Rock Paper Scissors and …

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Women's slow invasion of the ahwa

Women in Cairo began to enter ahwas in Cairo long ago. Smoking sheesha, sipping Turkish coffee, and playing backgammon, this creeping social change has encountered surprisingly little resistance. Men have simply moved over, and the owners have not refused to pocket the additional profit. Unsurprisingly, women come for the exact same reasons as men. I …

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Once mighty, Egypt is weak-kneed and without a clue

In the long history of Egyptian-Palestinian relations, and in particular the relationship between Egypt and Gaza, there has been nothing to rival the current crisis in Gaza for intensity and for the implications it holds for future stability in the area. While it is too early to tell whether a fundamentally different relationship will develop …

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WITH A GRAIN OF SALT: The Great Wall of Israel

It is absolutely not true that the leaders of Israel want to turn it into a Jewish ghetto, isolated from its neighbors. What they strive for, as they’ve been hammering it into our heads time and again, is for Israel to blend in with its neighbors in peaceful coexistence. This is precisely what I believe …

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Youth Views: Islam in modern Europe: revivalism or alienation?

Washington, DC: A recent poll looking at the viewpoints of young Muslims in the United Kingdom shows some shocking results. According to this January 2007 poll conducted for UK think tank Policy Exchange by the polling company Populus, young Muslims in the UK are much more likely than their parents to be attracted to political …

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IDEA, IFES and Human Rights say democracy is a must

CAIRO: Elections are the largest and most extensive logistical exercise conducted during peacetime involving almost the entire adult population of a state or nation, stated Emad Yousef, Arab World Project Manager from the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), at a five-day conference held at the Marriott hotels and resorts. The conference covered topics …

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Kefaya calls for a new form of protest

CAIRO: The opposition Egyptian National Movement for Change, known as Kefaya, is calling for a new kind of protest on July 23, marking Egypt’s 1952 revolution. Instead of street demonstrations, Kefaya is asking citizens to stay in their homes and hang black banners and the Egyptian flag on their buildings and outside their balconies. We …

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'Islands' leaves audiences stranded

In his short film Islands, new independent director Mohammed Salah explores loneliness and connection in a series of casually linked scenes. The film was screened July 9 in Maadi’s Al-Kotob Khan Bookshop – it was, to say the least, über-artsy. Not to waste too much time on the details, basically there is little there in …

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High school students to register for university online

CAIRO: The Ministry of Higher Education has announced the availability of online access for all Thanaweya Amma (the national general secondary certificate) students to easily register for their desired universities using their examination seat numbers through the government’s official website. “Instead of having students applying on paper, the ministry is now allowing students of Thanweya …

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Jockeying for first place

Heineken kicks off local DJ competition Music is the newest method of promotion for alcoholic beverages in Egypt, with the re-launch of Heineken Music Thirst, an international competition to select and award local DJs. The 2005 competition was a first for Egypt, and Al Ahram Beverages promoters hope that round two will continue to align …

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Two wrongs don't make a right at the IMF and World Bank

One has go back to the “Year of Three Popes in 1978 to find a succession drama as strange as what has been happening at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the two pillars of the global financial system. Two months ago, the World Bank president, Paul Wolfowitz, resigned amidst an extraordinary staff …

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Blair might fail, but those for peace must wish him luck

The release of an abducted BBC journalist in Gaza is being seen by some as an attempt by Hamas (which denies any part in the kidnapping) to curry favor with Tony Blair, who on stepping down as Britain’s prime minister was appointed international envoy to Israel and Palestine. Blair has the thankless task of helping …

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YOUTH VIEWS: Behind the hijab

CAIRO/IOWA CITY, IOWA/JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: Norhan Mohammed, an 11-year-old student, loved participating in her school s swim team, but not anymore. She left the team in May 2006 after she put on a hijab (headscarf), which did not go with her swimsuit. Mohammed does not regret her decision to put on the hijab. She still has …

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It's back to more brutal priorities in the Arab states

Unwilling to remain on the sidelines in the reform debate in the Middle East for the past two years, Arab governments have asserted themselves against civil society activists and reformists, creating a significant rise in the numbers of Arab prisoners of conscience. The return of security issues to the fore once again in the politics …

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Mostly, a 'divine victory' for disinformation

It says something that one year after the summer 2006 war, we’re not sure whether to celebrate Hezbollah’s “divine victory or bemoan Israel’s destruction of our country and its economy. That disconnect reflects the larger disconnect between Hezbollah and the rest of Lebanese society. But then the war was such a fount of falsehoods that …

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Bond, James Bond, returning in book form

Associated Press James Bond will soon be back, in bookstores. Devil May Care, a novel written by British author Sebastian Faulks and authorized by the estate of the late Ian Fleming, is due to come out in 2008, the centennial of Fleming s birth. According to the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, Devil May Care is …

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Good intentions are not enough

It’s far from an ideal solution but one has to start somewhere. Last month 12 year-old Bodour Shaker died while undergoing a routine cliterodectomy at a private clinic in Minya, in Upper Egypt. Her death led to a new ban on the procedure, forbidding all medical personnel from any involvement. Theoretically, those are two words …

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Egypt ups security at border, explosions allegedly blow hole in wall

RAFAH, Egypt: Egypt has begun deploying hundreds more police to strengthen security at its border with the Gaza Strip over fears Palestinians could try to storm it, security sources said on Wednesday. The deployment began late on Tuesday, and sources told Reuters that additional Egyptian security forces had already taken up positions along the border …

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One World Foundation demands respect for women

CAIRO: Presidents are meant to improve the general picture of their country. If women were given that power, they will take that away. This is what an ordinary man had to say when asked whether or not he was for women holding a position of power. Comparing this currently-prevalent opinion to Egypt 7,000 years ago, …

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Al-Qaida's No. 2 calls for holy war against Pakistan in new video

Associated Press CAIRO: Al-Qaeda’s No. 2 issued a new videotape calling for Pakistanis to join the holy war in revenge for the attack by Pakistan’s army on a radical mosque. Ayman Al-Zawahri’s four-and-a-half-minute address was entitled “The Aggression against Lal Masjid and entirely focused on the recent clashes between Islamic students and Pakistan’s army at …

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Egyptian researchers reveal new treatment for common skin disease

CAIRO: The National Center for Research has announced that a currently existing drug can be used in treating vitiligo or leukodermia, known in Egypt as buhaq. Methotrexate, an immunosuppressant drug already used to treat psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, has been shown to be highly effective against vitiligo. Vitiligo is an auto-immune disease estimated to afflict …

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Democratic Front Party not a Harb monopoly, says analyst

CAIRO: Rumors that the newly-licensed Democratic Front party’s leadership will be dominated by the Harb family have been blown out of proportion, political analyst at the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Amr Hashim told The Daily Star Egypt. Hashim downplayed recent speculation on whether the Harb family of Osama El Ghazaly Harb, …

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Obama's spark may be embracing his Muslim heritage

I was, and remain, a supporter of Republican Senator John McCain’s presidential bid. During the difficult days of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, McCain was a reliable advocate of human rights as the guiding agenda for policy in Iraq. This commitment has not subsided. The picture of that great beacon of freedom in Asia, Burmese dissident Aung …

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Israel should accept a regional peace conference

Two dogmas have ruled Israeli policies for decades: “Always deal with only one Arab nation, avoid meeting together with all of them, and “Never allow for a permanent international peace conference because it might push us into corners from which we cannot escape. The result has been a “wait-and-see strategy that assumes that time is …

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