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New Mecca Mega-Scheme On The Way

A German company has just secured the contract for a mega project in Mecca which will house around 160,000 inhabitants Despite reassurances that Mecca would take a more considered approach to construction, a new mega-scheme for the city has just been given the green light. Following the horrendous Mecca Clocktower and the growing sprawl surrounding […]

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Four Gulf Countries Are Among the World’s Fattest

Ramadan period expected to add to weighty population Eat less, and go to the gym more. Alas, easier said than done in some Gulf states, especially during Ramadan. Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are among the world’s top ten overweight nations, a new report by BMC Public Health has found. The extra […]

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Iranians Turn to Aubergine, Chicken for the Poor

During a recent trip to Iran, EuroNews correspondent Ali Sheikholeslami found that many Iranians are becoming unwitting vegetarians as they can no longer afford to buy meat. Following international sanctions against the country’s nuclear ambitions, inflation has soared, the Rial has crashed to about half its former value against western currencies, and locals are feeling the pinch. […]

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Yemeni Children Addicted to Khat are Skipping School

Khat addiction in Yemen has reached epic proportions and not only among adults. A recent report released by the World Health Organization shows that up to 20% of the nation’s children under twelve are also addicted to chewing the bitter stems of the Catha edulis plant, which produces a mild high akin to the effects […]

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New English-Arabic Dictionary of Environmental Terms

A useful new resource for eco-writers in the Middle East, now online. Eco-English vocabulary is hard enough to work with. And for the narrow niche of writers working with Arabic, English, and ecological issues, the search for that appropriate word can get  frustrating. But relief is in sight. Researcher Moshe Terdamana has published the dictionary […]

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Egyptian Library is Sustainable Regional Role Model

This fall Egypt’s Bibliotheca Alexandria will celebrate the tenth anniversary of its opening. It is one of the region’s grandest and most beautiful libraries. Although it currently holds only one million books there is room for expansion. Bibliotheca Alexandria has shelf space for over eight million books. This library has become a public center of learning […]

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6 Groundbreaking Art Projects With an Eco-Conscience

Art has a way of jarring our perspective. Here are 6 groundbreaking projects that are changing the way people in the Middle East relate to their environment. Just today we read about an Egyptian artist who has spread her creative wings since Mubarak’s fall only to have them clipped again by increasing powerful Islamist groups. […]

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Women, Rio+20 and the Green Future of the Middle East

On Tuesday thousands of Turkish women and activists sent government ministries a petition protesting the bill proposed by the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) that would ban abortions not taking place between the fourth and sixth week of pregnancy. Turkish law currently allows abortion until the tenth week. With dwindling environmental resources and rampant […]

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Amman School Grows Tomorrow’s Activists

Graduation by Demonstration is a school assignment on steroids. Educators Michael Gohde and Molly Van Cleave dreamed up this novel project over three years ago as a means to exercise all the skills in an 8th grader’s backpack. Middle school lays the foundation for high school. Kids learn to write. Really write. They learn to […]

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Arabs Undressed, Artfully

Paris art exhibit tackles Islamic taboos in a show aimed at broadening Western views of Mid East culture. Oooh la la…The Body Uncovered, at Paris’ Arab World Institute (AWI), presents two hundred controversial paintings, photographs, sculptures and videos that tackle variations of a provocative theme: the naked body. A mix of art forms created by […]

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Carmen’s Opera at Masada Leaves No Trace

Israeli Opera Festival 2012 will feature five performances of the classic opera, Carmen, June 7 to 11 at Masada. According to the Israeli Opera’s Artistic Director, Michael Ajzenstadt, 50,000 people from across Israel and all over the world are coming to experience opera at the lowest point on earth, beneath the mountain of Masada and […]

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Hey Jordan – How About Declaring Litter Independence?

Jordan’s Independence Day rolls around every May 25, celebrating when British command  over this land once called Transjordan ended back in 1946. So, last weekend in Amman, the streets dressed up in banners and flags and fireworks blazed in evening skies. Jordan’s party pretty much mirrors America’s July Fourth: less fun on the waterfront, but plenty of […]

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Turkey’s Early Hydroelectric Dams Featured in Exhibit

The first hydroelectric dam built in Ankara, Turkey’s capital city, the Çubuk Dam was promoted as “Ankara’s Bosphorus”. A new exhibit at Istanbul’s avant-garde SALT Galata gallery, Graft, throws open the archive of material about Turkey’s first major hydroelectric projects in the 1930s. The display critically analyzes the motives behind these early endeavors — and the […]

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What Arab Youth Want (A List of 10 Things)

Democracy used to be at the forefront of Arab Youth’s minds, but in 2012 that has changed. Now youth from 12 Arab countries in the Gulf, the Levant and North Africa claim they are more concerned about receiving fair wages for their work and being able to own their homes, though lack of democracy remains […]

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Kapow! – Arab Spring Madness in a Frantic Novel

In ways both understood and yet to be discovered, the Arab Spring has changed us. All of us. Having finally tapped their personal and collective power through social media and community engagement, youth in the region are taking their creative, environmental and intellectual lives back into their own hands. But the unfolding of this process is […]