• The trial of the former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, has resumed after a delay of almost two months. State TV showed the 83-year-old being stretchered into the court, at the police academy in the capital, Cairo.

  • - Although small shares of Saudi Arabia's adult population own businesses or plan to open them soon, Gallup surveys in 2011 reveal these shares are even smaller outside the three major cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. Saudis living in these major cities are twice as likely as their counterparts in the rest of the country to be business owners (9% vs. 4%) and have plans to open a business in the next 12 months (4% vs. 2%). The differences in their ambitions may lie in the diverse challenges they face in becoming business owners and their attitudes.

  • What gives the ultra-Orthodox the ability to oppress women, in other words, is partly a political system in which Israel’s Arab citizens are largely barred from power. What the protesters in Beit Shemesh and their supporters in the United States need to remember is the fundamental interconnectedness of equal citizenship.

  • Should the production of pasta, mineral water, butane gas cylinders, and gas station services qualify as classified military secrets? And does discussing these enterprises in public pass as a crime of high treason? The leaders of the Egyptian Armed Forces believe the answer is “yes.”  Until this very day, the role of the military establishment in the economy remains one of the major taboos in Egyptian politics.

  • State-controlled Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) plans to launch a transmission subsidiary in January as it splits up into six companies to encourage competition, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday. After the restructuring, SEC will be a holding company and will retain full ownership of the six companies, which include four power generation firms, one firm for distribution and another one for transmission.

  • Bahrain has been picked to host the headquarters for Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's new international Arabic news network despite months of unrest, according to the tiny Gulf kingdom's media oversight authority. Alwaleed's channel, dubbed Alarab, will be based in the Bahraini capital Manama's new Media City office complex, Sheik Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, a member of the Bahraini royal family and head of the country's Information Affairs Authority, said in a statement late Tuesday.

  • A new Israeli military offensive against Gaza will be launched "sooner or later" and will be "swift and painful", Israel's most senior military officer has warned. Benny Gantz, the chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces, was speaking on the third anniversary of the start of a major three-week assault on Gaza during which around 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

  • you'd like to read a textbook example of war-mongering disguised as "analysis," I recommend Matthew Kroenig's forthcoming article in Foreign Affairs, titled "Time to Attack Iran: Why a Strike Is the Least Bad Option." It is a remarkably poor piece of advocacy, all the more surprising because Kroenig is a smart scholar who has done some good work in the past. It makes one wonder if there's something peculiar in the D.C. water supply.

  • Rick Perry may be trailing in the Iowa polls with one week to go but the one-time GOP frontrunner is not giving up just yet. The Texan has launched his latest bid to win over conservative voters thought to be key to his campaign hopes, telling a group of Iowans on Tuesday that his opposition to abortion has grown, and he now believes that it is wrong in all cases, including rape and incest.

  • Moldova risks a prolonged political stalemate that may further slow down reforms in one of Europe's poorest nations as the only candidate for president said on Wednesday he was pulling out of this month's election. The withdrawal of parliament speaker Marian Lupu means the presidential election, which takes place in parliament rather than by popular vote, might be delayed if no other candidate steps in. The vote is currently scheduled for January 15.

  • Brazil has overtaken the UK as the world's sixth largest economy, an economic research group has said. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said its latest World Economic League Table showed Asian countries moving up and European countries falling back.

  • The perilous contest died, but a dangerous myth lived and thrived-- that President Ronald Reagan won the day with unmatchable hikes in military spending and by being tough and uncompromising. Today, that myth tugs daily in wrong directions regarding the most momentous U.S. policy decisions in hotspots like Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, and China.

  • Saudi wealth manager NCB Capital has said the kingdom remains vulnerable to increases in food prices due to its high dependence on imports, Arab News has reported. The inability to fully pass on higher costs to consumers will exert pressure on the margins of food companies

  • Several private hospitals in Saudi Arabia are losing millions of riyals annually, as health insurance firms reject improperly filled out the documents required to confirm payments for medical services rendered by hospitals to insured patients,

  • Christopher Hitchens and I were friends for 40 years, plus another five when we were enemies. He took ideas so seriously that if he disagreed with you on a matter that he deemed important, he’d literally throw you in a ditch. It was 1972, the height of our mutual virility. He and I went to a pub to celebrate his most recent intellectual victory over the establishment press. I intimated that sometimes women could be funny on purpose. Even back then, the thought enraged him. Hitchens threw a drink in my face, pressed a lit cigarette into my neck, and hit me over the head with a barstool. The next thing I knew, it was two days later and I was lying hogtied and naked beside the M5. Hitch had already severely damaged my reputation in a vicious essay in the Guardian. But that’s how he operated, and that’s why we loved him.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.