Victoria Duval: from Haitian hostage to Flushing Meadows darling

Repeating Islands

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Seventeen-year-old Victoria Duval’s heartwarming victory over Sam Stosur at the US Open is a long way from her family’s troubles in Haiti, Kevin Mitchell reports in London’s Guardian.

Certainly, the odd-ball glasses help. So does her excellent tennis. But what makes Victoria Duval stand out at this tournament is the power of her story, one that started in violent circumstances in Haiti when she was a small girl and which hit a heartwarming pitch here on day two, whenshe beat the 2011 champion Sam Stosur.

Duval, born in Miami to Haitian parents, was held at gunpoint, along with two cousins, for several hours by intruders to her aunt’s house in the island’s capital, Port-Au-Prince, when she was just seven.

“We were held hostage,” she recalls. “It’s not a good memory, so I try to forget as much as I can about it.”

However, she and her…

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Week 35-A Few Thoughts. Egypt’s New Political Map


Published in the Daily News Egypt

The political map of Egypt is slowly changing. As events continue to unfold following the June30 and then the July3 coup, there are emerging new realties that may have an impact the future of the country for years to come. Currently, however, there is nothing definitive or clear.

 First, the ongoing crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood did not tame political Islam in Egypt. In fact, the opposite is true. Al-Azhar wants to be the sole guardian of Islam in Egypt, while the anti-Muslim brotherhood Salafis want to be the protector of the Sunni doctrine, and all the while the junta wants to enlist Islamism to serve their nationalist agenda.

 Both al-Azhar figures and Salafis are passionately defending the army, but they are also defending the role of religion in the state. In their opinion, the religion should not be abused in politics, but it…

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Femen founders flee Ukraine ‘fearing for their lives’ | News | DW.DE | 01.09.2013

On Tuesday, police said they found a handgun and a hand grenade during a search of Femen’s Kyiv office. Authorities had said they dispatched a group of explosives experts to the premises after an anonymous tip-off. Femen is now facing an official investigation.

The protest group said it possessed no weapons, and accused the authorities of planting the weapons in a bid to shut down the organization. Femen subsequently announced it was leaving its Kyiv office, saying they believed the building had been bugged by police.

via Femen founders flee Ukraine ‘fearing for their lives’ | News | DW.DE | 01.09.2013.

An Endangered Rural Getaway in the Heart of Cairo: Stories from Dahab Island

Egyptian Streets

By Laurine Pierre, contributor,

Scattered with farms and crop fields, Dahab Island (Gezirat Dahab) is one of two islands situated the south of Cairo, and the only one that is inhabited. Contrary to the rest of Cairo and other islands like Zamalek or Manial, Dahab Island has never experienced urban development as the local communities continue to firmly defend their rural way of life against developers who have been trying to purchase lands on the island for many years.

Dahab Island also continues to be forgotten by the state, with the local population lacking basic public services. Spending a few hours on the island amongst the locals, you get to listen to their stories of neglect and the troubles they face on a day-to-day basis. Nevertheless, if you can close your eyes on the surrounding poverty and insalubrity, Dahab Island is a hidden paradise amidst a heavily urbanized and…

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