News Round Up - Tide, Tourism and Threats

Posted by Andrew |

  • As the wait for Saudi Arabia’s much-anticipated mortgage law continues, one of the kingdom’s most senior banking officials has claimed that the new legislation will not automatically lead to a flurry of lending from the local banking sector.

  • The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has said it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,” following Kuwait’s moves to ban their construction.

  • Qatar's top World Cup 2022 official has said he sees no reason for selling alcohol at stadiums hosting matches during the tournament. Hassan Al Thawadi, general secretary of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, said in comments published by The Associated Press that it was an issue that will be discussed with FIFA.

  • Before his death, Osama bin Laden boldly commanded his network to organize special cells in Afghanistan and Pakistan to attack the aircraft of President Obama and Gen. David H. Petraeus. “The reason for concentrating on them,” the al-Qaeda leader explained to his top lieutenant, “is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make [Vice President] Biden take over the presidency. . . . Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis. As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour . . . and killing him would alter the war’s path” in Afghanistan.

  • t’s no wonder Somali immigration officials in Mogadishu thought a 41-year-old man who described himself as a tourist was insane; they hadn’t seen a tourist in the Somali capital since, well, ever. Canadian citizen Mike Spencer Bown is a seasoned traveler having visited more than 150 countries. But when he arrived in Mogadishu as a tourist, he was met with disbelief.

  • State Department moves to fire diplomat who criticized Iraq reconstruction Text Size PrintE-mailReprints By Lisa Rein, Thursday, March 15, 5:48 AM Peter Van Buren, a foreign service officer who wrote an unflattering book about his year leading two U.S. reconstruction teams in Iraq, was stripped of his security clearance, banned from State Department headquarters for a time and transferred to a telework job that consists of copying Internet addresses into a file. Now the State Department is moving to fire him based on eight charges ranging from linking on his blog to documents on the whistleblowing Web site WikiLeaks to disclosing classified information.

  • On February 5, the report said, he sent his wife an iTunes file of the US country star Blake Shelton singing ``God Gave Me You.'' Other reported downloads include Walter Isaacson's biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs and songs including ``Don't Talk Just Kiss'' by Right Said Fred, ``Bizarre Love Triangle'' by New Order and ``Sexy and I Know It'' by LMFAO.

  • He pulled President George W. Bush's strings for eight years. He put bad guys on waterboards. He single-handedly took down Saddam Hussein. (He didn't go mano-a-mano with Osama bin Laden, but let's skip over that.) He even shot his friend in the face. What could possibly frighten Dick? This can: Former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney has cancelled an April appearance in Toronto citing concerns Canada is too dangerous.

  • Tide, a criminal currency? Apparently it’s true: the popular laundry detergent has become a recent target by thieves—who are allegedly using it as a type of street currency because the retail price is steadily high.

  • Kuwait's government, under pressure from labour unions, has announced big rises in public sector wages while ordering measures to head off inflation in the prices of basic goods. Authorities said late on Monday that government workers would get a 25 percent rise in their basic salaries, while pensioners would receive 12.5 percent more.

  • The interview got me thinking about the issue of media coverage of this whole business, and I'm sorry to say that most mainstream news organizations have let us down again. Although failures haven't been as egregious as the New York Times and Washington Post's wholesale swallowing of the Bush administration's sales pitch for war in 2002, on the whole the high-end media coverage has been disappointing. Here are my Top Ten Media Failures in the 2012 Iran War Scare.

  • Which product at this year’s South by Southwest technology conference received more attention than perhaps any other? Homeless people as wireless transmitters.

  • Why didn’t Netanyahu tell that part of the story? Why don’t most American Jews know about it? For the same reason the American Jewish establishment doesn’t talk about Ariel: because in official Jewish discourse, the Jewish story begins with victimhood and end with survival. On the one hand, Jews delight in our newfound power. What could be more exhilarating for a people that seven decades ago were impotent to stop the Holocaust than seeing a Jewish state with nuclear weapons and an American Jewish community capable of making politicians pander in the most obsequious of ways? What is the AIPAC Conference if not a celebration of our own Purim-like transformation from terrifying weakness to intoxicating strength?  

  • Comedian Louis C.K. has withdrawn as host of the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association annual dinner scheduled for June 8.

  • The secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has condemned statements from a Muslim Brotherhood official, who threatened to “mobilise the entire world” against the UAE.

  • Former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan says he is opposed to a pre-emptive strike by Israel on Iran, agreeing with President Obama’s position on the issue. “An attack on Iran before you explore all other approches, is not the right way how to do it,” Meir Dagan said on the popular 60 Minutes program in the United States. Dagan also said that Ahmadinejad is “rational,” albeit not on “Western thinking.”

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