It’s astonishing how often folks say in comments that they use only information sources that match their preconceptions. “I don’t read him, he’s a lefty/right/evildoer.” This is a recipe for ignorance. The FM newswire cites sources from a wide range of viewpoints. Esp from the fringes, where new insights are born.
Here are today’s links to interesting news and analysis. …
- Closing the door on higher education for the poor and middle classes: “As college costs rise, loans become harder to get“, Washington Post, 28 December 2009
- “America’s Secret ICE Castles“, Jacqueline Stevens, The Nation, 16 December 2010 — Immigrant detention centers.
- “Serial Catastrophes in Afghanistan threaten Obama Policy”, Juan Cole, Informed Comment, 4 January 2010 — Nice summary of recent events in the Af-Pak War. Follow the links!
- “American World of War – What to Watch for in 2010“, Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse, TomDispatch, 4 January 2010
- A must-read: “Harsh lessons we may need to learn again“, Joseph E. Stiglitz (Nobel laureate in Economics), op-ed in China Daily, 31 December 2009
- Headline news, Americans wetting their beds in fear: “Iran May Be Able to Build an Atomic Bomb in 5 Years, U.S. and Israeli Officials Fear“, New York Times, 5 January 1995 — That was 1995.
Today’s feature article
“Top Ten Good News Stories from the Muslim World in 2009 that You Never Heard About“, Juan Cole, 1 January 2009 — See Cole’s website for the additional detail and evidence. Summary:
- Saudi Arabia opened its first coeducational college campus, the King Abdullah Science and Technology University.
- Qatar is on track to average 7.5 percent per annum growth for the next few years. The natural gas giant is a cauldron of development activity. It permits Aljazeera satellite news to remain the most open and controversial media outlet in the Arab world. It is expanding the ‘Education City’ complex, in which many American universities maintain campuses, and which serves as a key educational hub for the Gulf and its region. (This robust expansion contrasts with the difficult times higher education is facing in Dubai).
- A Pew Forum on Religion and Life poll finds that American Muslims are unusual in the degree to which they are integrated into mainstream American society and demonstrate moderate attitudes, condemning religious extremism and violence.
- The information revolution is making strides in the Arab world. A University of Maryland Poll finds that “the use of the internet continued to grow, with 36% stating that they use the internet at least several times a week and only 38% stating that they never use the internet (compared with 52% in 2008).
- Albania has averaged 10 percent a year growth for each of the last four years, and was the fastest-growing economy in Europe in 2009.
- The small Gulf oil monarchy of Kuwait took steps toward greater democracy and rule of law.
- Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world at about 230 mn., had successful parliamentary elections in 2009, further consolidating the country’s decade-old democracy.
- Turkey, which averaged 5.8 percent a year economic growth between 2002 and 2008, was slowed but not devastated by the world’s financial crisis.
- Stability returned to Lebanon.
- A considerable proportion of the Iranian public resorted to concerted street and cultural protests against the stealing of the June presidential election by incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.x
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