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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 […]

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One Million Syrian Refugees Desperately Need Help

Two to three thousand refugees flee Syria every day. Exhausted from traveling with what little they own and devastated by the many losses they have incurred along the way – their home, their country, every shred of security they ever knew and a shocking number of family members – they pour into bordering countries. The […]

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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 […]

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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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Eggplant Lovers Get New Sabich Restaurant in Tel Aviv

Iraq meets Israel in Tel Aviv at this new sabich restaurant. Givatayim’s legendary eggplant-maker Oved Daniel, whom they call the “professor of sabich [Iraqi eggplant dish] science,” is opening up a new restaurant in Tel Aviv. Previously a gifted soccer player, today Daniel is a local food celebrity whose specialty sabich is one of Israel’s […]

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Jordan Enjoys An Endless Summer

The logistical headaches of keeping daylight savings year-round in Jordan. Last week in Amman, the Jordanian Cabinet reversed a decision to switch to wintertime, sticking with daylight saving time for the entire year. Our extended daylight hours are good for the environment (and coveted by many Israeli neighbors), but the late decision is causing logistical […]

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The Arab Youth Climate Movement Is Born

Established in the lead up to the COP18 Doha negotiations, the Arab Youth Climate Movement brings together over 20 campaigners from 15 Middle East/North Africa countries As the saying goes, there is power in numbers. So it’s great to see environmental organisations across MENA come together to “create a more sustainable, prosperous, meaningful, just, and […]

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Kurdish Self-Rule Spreading in War-Torn Syria

Could a united Kurdistan mean a victory for the peoples’ natural resources: energy, and mighty rivers? Against the backdrop of the civil war raging in Syria, Syrian Kurds are moving towards self-rule. The Syrian government has relinquished many Kurdish communities to local control. Kurdish flags fly over former government buildings in northeastern Syria. Many new […]

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Medical Tourism Boom in Jordan and United Arab Emirates

Catch some healing sun with your operation? The Middle East’s healthcare industry is booming. Rising healthcare costs in the United States and increased waiting periods for specialized treatment in Europe are fueling rapid growth in the numbers of medical tourists pouring into the region. Medical tourism, the practice of crossing international borders to obtain healthcare, […]

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Jordan’s Crippled Water Resources Protected by Security

Jordan’s armed security forces have been enlisted to protect the Kingdom’s scarce water resources from recurring vandalism and theft. Jordan is dealing with an increase in water theft. Ironically, as I type, I am awaiting a water truck arrival to refill our new apartment’s tank: I’d jumped in the shower, turned the knobs, and was met […]

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Baghdad Fights Tobacco Trend Among Youth

Nearly seven percent of adolescent Iraqis have smoked shisha, and more than three percent have smoked tobacco, raising concerns among health officials about future diseases that could arise as a result. This was one of the findings of the Global Youth Tobacco Survey carried out recently by Iraq’s Ministry of Health. Shisha, also known as […]

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Looking inside a Bedouin tent

Jordanians can pick each other out by sight and last-name analysis, as accurate as DNA testing. Six million “Jordanians” are a quilt sewn from disparate ethnicities and cultures, co-existing in peace while retaining the essence of their origins. This tiny nation divides itself up into groups and sub-groups and tribes and families. Jordan hosts one of […]

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Can CO2 Mobilise Cairo?

350.org proves that Egypt has an enormous reservoir of young and engaged people. Scientists have determined that to keep the climate stable the average concentration of CO2 in the sky should be limited to 350 ppm, compared to the 400 ppm that was reached in 2012. And while the science of climate change is solid, […]

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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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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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Refugees to Jordan Flow More Freely Than Water

Jordan’s hosting of forced migrants is overburdening already stressed water resources. Humanitarianism has an unanticipated knock-on to fresh water supplies, as Jordan is starting to realize. Syrian refugees harbored in kingdom are draining the desert nation’s scarce water resources, reports Lebanon’s Daily Star. This presents a new setback for Jordan, one of the world’s most […]

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Peak Phosphorus Fuels the World’s Growing Bellyache

Whisked away down the toilet and into our waterways, we are losing stocks of phosphorus and the result can be very scary.  Looking for something new to worry about? Phosphorus hops onto the list of rapidly diminishing natural resources: a dangerous dwindling of something that probably never crossed your mind. Production will likely peak in our […]

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Iraqi Mud Architect Wins Prestigious Sustainability Award

Iraqi architect Salma Samar Damluji has won the ‘Global Award for Sustainable Architecture’ for her mud-brick renovation work in Yemen Mud. Muck. Dirt. Clay. Earth. Call it what you like – it’s the stuff of life and also of sustainable architecture. From the stunning mud mosque of Djenne in Mali to the clay tower homes […]