Middle East Digest: November Edition


This is my second monthly selection of news, reports, and articles covering  the Middle East (except Egypt). I hope you find useful.

Main Headlines


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Egyptian Aak. Week 48 ( Nov 25- Dec1)

over and over and over again till we get it right? Hope so.


Main Headlines




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Boris Johnson slashes number of deadly sins across London in bid to privatise greed

Good luck Boris – question is who will bid higher than you?

Pride's Purge


London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced greed and envy are to be sold off to private developers as part of his plans to reduce the seven deadly sins across London to just five.

In a controversial speech on Friday, Mr Johnson revealed he was planning to allow city developers to take over the entire provision of greed and envy in the capital – with the majority of the remaining five vices to be rebranded and officially downgraded from ‘cardinal’ to ‘pretty good’.

The announcement comes only weeks after Mr Johnson also announced a drastic reduction in the number of graces in the capital from three to just one – with Hope and Charity to be axed altogether leaving only Faith to be outsourced to G4S in what one insider described as “a multi-million pound deal”.

G4S has long been regarded as one of the world’s leading experts in the…

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Snowy Owl Spotted Perched on Bermuda Roof

Repeating Islands


A Snowy Owl was seen by a group of Rubis workers on Thursday on top of an oil storage tank, and it was later found on a house roof near Gibbs Hill lighthouse by Tim Brewer, and photographed by Andrew Dobson, Bernews.com reports.

A post on the Bermuda Audubon Society’s Facebook page asked people to continue to report sightings, and noted: “There have only been 3 records in the past 30 years and about a further 10 historical records.

“Snowy Owls move south from their Arctic breeding grounds with some reaching the US East Coast and accidentally to Bermuda.”

According to National Geographic, “The snowy owl is a patient hunter that perches and waits to identify its prey before soaring off in pursuit. Snowy owls have keen eyesight and great hearing, which can help them find prey that is invisible under thick vegetation or snowcover. The owls deftly snatch…

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The Edge of 2013 #photography #poetry

penned in moon dust


Standing at the precipice

you can’t catch me

it is too late for a fling

hanging on a string

once a drip of water

now but winter’s daughter


I stand at the precipice

active are lights and colors

scents cloud my reason

sounds of the season

wrapped in bows

I pivot on my toes


I stand on the precipice

so many things I missed

struggling to catch them as I fall

wishing to embrace it all

unsuccessful was my list

the many words I missed


I jump from the precipice

you can judge the distance

28 more days

the sun shines too little rays

I smile at the thought

all the places where we walked


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NYPD Crackdown On Subway Panhandlers Defies “Common Sense”: Gothamist

“There are more important things we have to worry about, like people becoming the victim of a crime,” a police source told the Post in a December 2, 2013 story. “People are getting thrown onto subway tracks, having their iPhones and iPads snatched. The last thing we’re worried about is a man begging for a nickel on the holidays. It’s common sense.”

via NYPD Crackdown On Subway Panhandlers Defies “Common Sense”: Gothamist.

Opposition Protestors in Ukraine Erect Tent City in Kiev Overnight – SPIEGEL ONLINE

On Sunday, around 100,000 opposition supporters gathered on Independence Square in defiance of a ban on rallies until Jan. 7. Around double that amount were believed to be in the city center in total. There were violent clashes on the fringes of the demonstration with police reporting roughly 100 officers injured. According to the city authorities, nearly 50 protestors also needed treatment for injuries. Several dozen members of Svoboda occupied a vacant public building and hung a Ukrainian flag from the window.

There were also protests in other parts of the country. In Lviv in western Ukraine, about 50,000 anti-government demonstrators took part in a rally. In Donetsk, in the Russian-speaking region in the east of the country where the president comes from, 250 people defied a ban on demonstrations. For days, supporters of closer ties with the EU have been protesting against Yanukovych.

via Opposition Protestors in Ukraine Erect Tent City in Kiev Overnight – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Opinion: Between dream and nightmare | Europe | DW.DE | 02.12.2013

A political turning point

Ukrainians are familiar with such abuses by the police through media coverage about Moscow and Minsk. Their own country, however, hasn\’t seen such things since the Orange Revolution. In fact, the capital of Kyiv practically hasn\’t seen a week without some from of demonstration or proclamation. Ukrainians have gotten used to enacting their right to assemble in a creative and colourful manner. And now, of all times, when decisions of national importance like the EU accession are hanging by a thread – decisions that are of everyone\’s concern – out come the police batons.

It could be a political turning point the public is unwilling to accept. This, too, the Kyiv mass demonstrations are a sign of: Ukrainians refuse any orders to stay quiet. Until now, protests in the capital and elsewhere were primarily against the decision to postpone EU accession talks. But after the violence against peaceful demonstrators, the movement has gained new momentum: Calls are not only for a change in foreign policy any more; now it\’s about the government and its president to step down.

via Opinion: Between dream and nightmare | Europe | DW.DE | 02.12.2013.