Zarganar, a famous Burmese comedian who was recently released from prison last year, is set to appear in a popular UK comedy show, “No Pressure to be Funny.” Since the late 80’s, Zarganar has been in and out of prison, persecuted for speaking out against the oppressive rule of the military…Full Article IN REVIEW: Finding Humor in Myanmar
Recent headlines in the Myanmar media are a clear indication of a polarized country. Some articles touch on Japanese plans to develop the Myanmar Stock Exchange. Others describe the plights of 471 confirmed political prisoners in Myanmar, with 465 more awaiting confirmation. Looking at the Myanmar headlines on Mizzima News,…Full Article MYANMAR: Headlines Capture Essence of Political Change
The country of Burma (but these days Myanmar, in the official UN nomenclature) is suddenly receiving a lot of positive press, and rightly so. The military junta has released a record number of political prisoners in recent months, opened dialogue between the government and ethnic minorities, and even held some…Full Article MYANMAR: Caution Signs on the Road to Burma
Of the 180 million population in Pakistan, little more than one percent are Hindus. But increasingly they are said to be fearing for their religious identity — and lives — as more and more coerced conversions have been reported. The Independent Human Rights Commission in Pakistan (HRCP) claims that the…Full Article PAKISTAN: Forced Conversions or Cultural Assimilation?
Journalism students at Northwestern University, Qatar, have created a website to combat the alarming rate of obesity plaguing the country, as well as the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The website, Sweet Epidemic (http://qatarsweetepidemic.org), aims to raise awareness of the cause of obesity, using a mix of media…Full Article QATAR: Journalism Students Fight Obesity—Fat Chance?
Recently I attended a presentation at the University of Southern California’s US-China Institute about the play Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers, which last year debuted in China. Afterward, I had an opportunity to talk with Geoffrey Cowan, the distinguished co–author of the play (along with the late…Full Article WE ASK / THEY ANSWER: Getting to the Bottom of the Top Secrets
Behold the stinging power of the “pen,” even via Twitter: Kuwait is apparently in a national uproar over a Twitter comment by writer Mohamed Al-Mulaifi regarding Islamic religious icon Awaited Mahdi, Islam’s End Time prophet.Full Article KUWAIT: From Twitter Comment to Civil Unrest?
The world’s largest book entitled “This is Mohammad” (Peace Be Upon Him) written by Dr. Abdullah Abdul Aziz Al Musleh, the Secretary General of the Commission on Scientific Signs in the Quran and Sunnah in Riyadh, is set to hit the bookstores in late February in Dubai, as reported by the…Full Article UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: World’s Largest Book (Literally) Debuts in Dubai
These days, Islam and the Catholic Church appear to agree on at least one thing: religious assertions on Social Media outlets should be treated with considerable skepticism—and indeed may be the source of serious religious error. For example, in his recent sermon in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Grand Mufti Shaikh Abdul…Full Article RIYADH and ROME: Grand Mufti and the Pope Together on Social Media
According to various media accounts, Iran’s government is going to new heights to silence the political opposition that could undermine upcoming parliamentary elections in early March. This further tightening is make the Islamic Republic’s regional neighbors increasingly nervous.Full Article IRAN: Neighbor Worry about Further Repression
Reliable media outlets of the region, including the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s most-read English website and the Khaleej Times Online, a leading English daily out of Dubai, report growing tension, in particular, between Iran and Gulf States. A key issue of contention is the decision of the EU to punish Iran for proceeding with development of its nuclear capability. Many countries find this alarming, especially Israel, but Iran describes its work as a harmless “nuclear technology program” to generate domestic electricity.Full Article THE GULF STATES: Oil, Boil … and a Whole Lot of Trouble!
Turkish journalists are incredulous, claiming that they are being treated like terrorists for simply doing their jobs. According to the Khaleej Times Online, a leading English Daily of UAE and the Gulf States, the number of journalists held in Turkish prisons pre-trial has risen from 70 to 97 in less…Full Article TURKEY: Dubai Newspaper Raises Questions about Journalistic Freedom
The Persian Gulf is abuzz over what giant Saudi Arabia will be like under the rule of the new heir Crown Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, according to the Gulf News, a daily English language newspaper published from Dubai. The future of Saudi Arabia seems as enigmatic as the man who will lead it.Full Article FROM DUBAI’S GULF NEWS: Getting a Line on the Man In Line for Saudi Arabia
Dr. Vandana Shiva, author, physicist, philosopher, environmental activist and eco-feminist came to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles on November 1, 2011 to receive the Navin and Pratima Doshi Bridgebuilder Award…Full Article INDIA: Vandana Shiva Video Interview
Why would UNESCO’s participation in the Sharjah International Book Fair make the headlines of one of the leading English Dailies of UAE and the Gulf States- The Khaleej News? On October 31st, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, granted Palestine’s bid for full membership in the organization. In response, by the U.S., as expected, announced cutbacks UNESCO funding, leaving the organization short $65 million USD for the end of the year budget…Full Article UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Book Fair finds a benefactor in Al Qasimi