Syrian refugees list their tent on Airbnb

Syrian refugees list their tent on Airbnb

Take empathy to a new level by living just like a displaced person. A group of Syrian refugees advertised their camp tent as a rentable destination on Airbnb, offering intrepid travelers “scorpions, dehydration and broken promises”. They describe the Ritsona, Greece refugee camp, about 80 kilometers north of Athens, as “the most unique neighborhood in[.....]

Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid dead at 65

Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid dead at 65

Zaha Hadid, the first female architect (and first Muslim) to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize, died yesterday in a Miami hospital after suffering a heart attack while being treated for bronchitis. The Iraqi-born mathematician and architect whose designs were both celebrated and divisive, was 65 years old.

If Jordan waives visa fees, will tourists come?

If Jordan waives visa fees, will tourists come?

Jordan will waive its 40 dinar ($57) visa fee for incoming tourists to make visits to Jordan “more convenient and affordable for people of all nationalities,” according to a government press release. The action aims to boost tourism to kingdom attractions such as Petra, Pella, and the protected area of Wadi Rum. It’s just one of several new initiatives to reinvigorate Jordan’s[.....]

Ikea rolls out 10,000 flat-pack refugee shelters

Ikea rolls out 10,000 flat-pack refugee shelters

IKEA and UNHCR (the United Nations High Commission for Refugees) emerged from two years of research with a prototype shelter suitable for refugee families anywhere.  It features an innovative roof that reflects 70% of the sun’s rays during the day yet retains heat during the night, and it’s fitted with solar panels that power an[.....]

Today is a once-in-a-century Pi Day!

Today is a once-in-a-century Pi Day!

Today is Pi Day.  Celebrated around the world every March 14th (3/14), the day focuses on the mathematical symbol that represents the constant ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, approximated as 3.14159. This year’s Pi Day is a once-in-a-lifetime event; it will be 100 years until we experience 3/14/15 9:26:53 again – that’s pi to[.....]

Hanging Gardens of Babylon inspire water farming called hydroponics

Hanging Gardens of Babylon inspire water farming called hydroponics

Growing crops by hydroponic farming, or on water, has been practiced since the ancient Babylonians planted their legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon. These were the world’s first vertical farms concept. Hydroponic water gardens also include roof top gardens in Middle East cities like Beirut and Cairo. In fact, the practice of hydroponic, water based farming for smart[.....]

Be a humanitarian superhero: park politics

Be a humanitarian superhero: park politics

Israel and Hamas agreed to a 12-hour ceasefire in Gaza yesterday, a brief respite from the escalating violence that is testing the capabilities of relief agencies already strained by four years of Syrian war and renewed battles in Iraq.  It’s a half day opportunity to park politics and take humanitarian action. Want to make a difference? Jump into[.....]

No Bake Date Squares Recipe

No Bake Date Squares Recipe

Wouldn’t it be great if recipes for high-energy, healthy snacks required no cooking or baking?  Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret: date squares are made with neither a stove nor an oven. The lesson I’ve learned after watching this video demo: Never underestimate the power of a food processor.

Iraqi Watermelon Rind Jam – Recipe

Iraqi Watermelon Rind Jam – Recipe

From Iraq with love, a great jam with a surprising ingredient. Nawal Nasrallah, a food historian and author, writes about Iraqui cuisine in a warm, rich style that beautifully highlights each recipe’s  historical and cultural background. Her newly revised cookbook, Delights From The Garden Of Eden, is about to be released in a new edition,[.....]

Gabriele Galimberti Shows Middle East Kids and Their Toys

Gabriele Galimberti Shows Middle East Kids and Their Toys

Gabriele Galimberti’s“Toy Stories” documents the world’s children posed with their favorite toys. Everyone remembers their most prized possessions.  Mine were an Etch-a-Sketch, some wads of Silly Putty, and an endless supply of Crayola crayons: surely you can rattle off yours? Galimberti, an Italian photographer who specializes in serials, all variations on a single theme, said[.....]

Swine Flu Death Toll in Middle East Region

Swine Flu Death Toll in Middle East Region

Are you at risk? Get swine flu updates for the PA, Israel, Yemen, Iraq, Tunisia and Jordan. Health officials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) are calling on residents to get vaccinated against the H1N1 virus (“swine flu”) after 25 deaths in recent weeks.Over 700 infections of H1N1 have been reported in the West Bank[.....]

Floods, Climate Change and the Garden of Eden?

Floods, Climate Change and the Garden of Eden?

Are Jordan’s snow and Israel’s floods signs of climate change or are they simply flukes of weather?  People might argue this for decades there is strong evidence that Mideastern climate has changed dramatically over thousands of years and there is evidence that humans can negatively impact their environment over a much shorter time period. The[.....]

Fight Crime By Getting the Lead Out

Fight Crime By Getting the Lead Out

Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, Myanmar and Yemen are still using leaded gasoline and many others have lead contaminated plumbing, soil, paint and household products. How can we reduce the world’s crime rate, particularly the rate of violent crime?  When the crime rate rises or a horrific crime takes place, people are quick to find blame[.....]

Make Your Own Compost Bin With Mesopotamian Bricks

Make Your Own Compost Bin With Mesopotamian Bricks

Turn to the ancients for a green building technique that lets you play like a child.  Mesopotamian mud bricks still do the job, for free. Mesopotamia was the ancient collective of settlements tracing the Tigris–Euphrates river basin.  It spanned modern Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and smaller parts of Iran. Modern school kids learn this[.....]

Iraqi Stuffed Grape Leaves RECIPE

Iraqi Stuffed Grape Leaves RECIPE

In the Middle East, recipes for stuffed vegetables and leaves evolved from a simple, thrifty way with meat to a culinary passion. Careful housewives have long known that a little ground meat goes a long way when artfully seasoned and combined with rice. But it took imagination and care to develop the recipes of stuffed[.....]

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