Al Jazeera popped on to the American news scene at the 2004 RNC Convention held at Madison Square Gardens in NYC. They were that skybox high to the right of the stage. Mediates whispered, took photos puzzled that the Arab network was now going prime time. Soon, job offers began appearing on the work place board at the National Press Club in Washington DC seeking journalists to cover Sports and other odd placements for the Middle East entity. Job placement ramped up until the proverbial camel got its nose in the tent. Al Jazeera was mainstream. Suspicions had vanished. Al Jazeera had arrived. Al Jazeera was everywhere. Al Jazeera is financed by the ruling family in Qatar. The competing broadcaster Al Arabiya is financed by Saudi investors. The approach differs somewhat on this point. The Saudis are more in favor of the Salafists, whom they finance and arm, while the…

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West Bank Mama

Political satire done well is a work of art. In Israel noone does it better than Latma.

Now that it is not popular to be left wing (a recent Israeli poll shows that over 50% of Israelis consider themselves right wing, and only about a quarter consider themselves left wing) many Israeli political parties are trying to pass themselves off as mercaz – “central” – even though they have not changed their views.

To point out this absurdity Latma has done a number of sketches about other places where the left has disappeared….


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BBC Watch

As we have mentioned here before, the BBC’s profile of Hizballah is not only a wooly, anodyne portrait, but it has also not been updated in two and  a half years and therefore does not include any information on Hizballah’s role in the Assad regime’s brutal violence against the Syrian people or its involvement in the murder of Rafik Hariri. 

A recent article in the Ynet magazine serves as a reminder that Hizballah’s extensive involvement in drug trafficking also remains unmentioned in its BBC profile, as well as in the BBC’s Q&A section on Mexican drug cartels, despite the fact that somearticles on the BBC News website have touched on the subject. 

In the name of accuracy, perhaps the BBC News website editors could add the updating of that profile of Hizballah to their list of New Year’s resolutions. 

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National Post | Life

Four national retailers agreed to recall more than 150,000 Nap Nanny baby recliners after at least five infant deaths and dozens of reports of children nearly falling out of the recliners, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday.

The recall covers Nap Nanny Generations One and Two, and the Chill model infant recliners. All were sold between 2009 and 2012. The Nap Nanny was designed to mimic the curves of a baby car seat, elevating an infant slightly to help reduce reflux, gas, stuffiness or other problems.

The CPSC warned parents and caregivers that the Nap Nanny contains defects in its design, warnings and instructions. The agency said the product poses a substantial risk of injury and death to infants.

Five thousand Nap Nanny Generation One and 50,000 Generation Two models were sold between 2009 and early 2012

The four retailers —, Buy Buy Baby, and Toys R…

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National Post | News

An elderly Arab woman approaches a young Israeli woman at a garbage dump. They have no common language, yet somehow they interact.

Called “Take-away,” the play is set in a garbage dump on what used to be a sacred hill. A group of garbage collectors, all refugees from conflicts, live on the hill. They sort through the garbage that is dumped and in so doing, learn about each other.

“Garbage is the source by which we discard each other and so much stuff,” Bonna Haberman, the co-director of the Y Theater Project, tells The Media Line. “We’re really trashing the world, and that comes from a very instrumental approach to the other. We look at a person as a means to fulfill our goals and once that person is no longer useful, we discard them.”

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The piece came out of two years of theater workshops by Haberman…

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National Post | News

RAMALLAH – They may argue they enjoy better conditions than their peers in Arab countries, but Palestinian women share a similar problem with them: being forcibly denied their legitimate inheritance.

Women are usually shy about making such demands or fear social pressure such as being ostracized by their family. Others simply believe their male relatives are more entitled to the inheritance because they are the family’s bread-winners, and give up their rights to inherit intentionally.

Social workers and lawyers familiar who work on such cases blame Arab society’s culture and norms, since women’s right of inheritance is granted by Islam’s Sharia law and the Palestinian laws derived from it.

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The Sharia law implemented in this area clearly classifies who gets what. Christians refer to their churches’ courts which also give women the right of inheritance.

Jwana Rafeedie, Coordinator of the YMCA’s Inheritance Denied Project, told The Media Line

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National Post | News

BERLIN — The case of an 87-year-old Philadelphia man accused by Germany of serving as an SS guard at Auschwitz has largely centred on whether he was stationed at the part of the death camp used as a killing machine for Jews.

Johann “Hans” Breyer — while admitting he was an Auschwitz guard — insists he was never there.

World-War II-era documents obtained by The Associated Press indicate otherwise.

The files provided by the U.S. Department of Justice in response to an AP request are now in the hands of German authorities, and could provide the legal basis for charging him as an accessory to the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews in the Nazi death camp.

The retired toolmaker told the AP in September, when German authorities confirmed he was under investigation, that he was always at Auschwitz I, a smaller camp used largely for slave labour, and…

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National Post | News

Russia warned Thursday Syria would descend into “bloody chaos” if a proposal from Lakhdar Brahimi, the international peace envoy, to set up a transitional government fails.

Mr. Brahimi challenged those in the conflict to work together to pave the way for democratic elections and sideline President Bashar al-Assad.

His proposal received strong backing from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said negotiations were the only way to end the fighting.

“The alternative to a peaceful solution is bloody chaos. The longer it continues, the greater its scale — and the worse things get for all,” he said.

After five days of negotiations with the regime in Damascus, Mr. Brahimi claimed to have the outline of a power-sharing pact, but his proposals were instantly rejected by the main opposition council.

It has been angered by the suggestion Mr. Assad could stay on as a figurehead despite the deaths of 45,000 people…

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(Jerusalem) – Palestinian armed groups in Gaza violated the laws of war during the November 2012 fighting by launching hundreds of rockets toward population centers in Israel.

About 1,500 rockets were fired at Israel between November 14 and 21, the Israel Defense Forces reported. At least 800 struck Israel, including 60 that hit populated areas.

The rocket attacks, including the first from Gaza to strike the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas, killed three Israeli civilians, wounded at least 38, several seriously, and destroyed civilian property. Rockets that fell short of their intended targets in Israel apparently killed at least two Palestinians in Gaza and wounded others, Human Rights Watch said.

“Palestinian armed groups made clear in their statements that harming civilians was their aim,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “There is simply no legal justification for launching rockets at populated areas.”


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