Category Archives: World Affairs

Israel Faces Crisis Over Role of Ultra-Orthodox in Society – NYTimes.com

Israel Faces Crisis Over Role of Ultra-Orthodox in Society – NYTimes.com.

Israelis Facing a Seismic Rift Over Role of Women

JERUSALEM — In the three months since the Israeli Health Ministry awarded a prize to a pediatrics professor for her book on hereditary diseases common to Jews, her experience at the awards ceremony has become a rallying cry.

The professor, Channa Maayan, knew that the acting health minister, who is ultra-Orthodox, and other religious people would be in attendance.  So she wore a long-sleeve top and a long skirt. But that was hardly enough.

Not only did Dr. Maayan and her husband have to sit separately, as men and women were segregated at the event, but she was instructed that a male colleague would have to accept the award for her because women were not permitted on stage.

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Read the full article here: The New York Times

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From Fidel Castro to Hugo Chavez: with great power comes truly great paranoia – Telegraph

From Fidel Castro to Hugo Chavez: with great power comes truly great paranoia – Telegraph.

From Fidel Castro to Hugo Chavez: with great power comes truly great paranoia

Plainly lunatic ideas can take on serious importance when no one contradicts you.

8:10PM GMT 29 Dec 2011

I have been reading Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s comments about his cancer. It is, apparently, an assassination attempt by America. I wonder if that’s what happened to me last week. I had the norovirus and spent Christmas in bed. I had put it down to bad luck. But maybe there was something more sinister at work. While you wouldn’t call me a dictator as such, maybe there are people out there who want to stop me writing…

When you’re a totalitarian, nothing is ever as straightforward as falling ill. This week, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the president of Argentina, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, has had cancer, as has her predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva. And Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo. These South American leaders are all democrats, however. And not one has attributed their cancer to anything other than the fact that people do, unfortunately, get cancer.

Dictators, though, think differently. Dictators live in a bubble of paranoia. So when Hugo Chávez was diagnosed with cancer last June, he considered it not an act of God or poor luck, but imperialist aggression. An assassination attempt, in fact, by the US. “It’s very difficult to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some of us in Latin America,” he said in a speech this week. “Would it be so strange that they’ve invented technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years? I’m just sharing my thoughts, but it’s very, very, very strange.”

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But it’s not just dictators who suffer. Few leaders have ever been more paranoid than Richard Nixon. “Never forget,” he told Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig in a taped conversation in 1972, “the press is the enemy, the press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy, the professors are the enemy, the professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times.”

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Read the full story here: The Telegraph

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Israeli Girl at Center of Tension Over Religious Extremism – NYTimes.com

Israeli Girl at Center of Tension Over Religious Extremism – NYTimes.com.

Israeli Girl, 8, at Center of Tension Over Religious Extremism

BEIT SHEMESH, Israel — The latest battleground in Israel’s struggle over religious extremism covers little more than a square mile of this Jewish city situated between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and it has the unexpected public face of a blond, bespectacled second-grade girl.

She is Naama Margolese, 8, the daughter of American immigrants who are observant modern Orthodox Jews. An Israeli weekend television program told the story of how Naama had become terrified of walking to her elementary school here after ultra-Orthodox men spit on her, insulted her and called her a prostitute because her modest dress did not adhere exactly to their more rigorous dress code.

The country was outraged. Naama’s picture has appeared on the front pages of all the major Israeli newspapers. While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Sunday that “Israel is a democratic, Western, liberal state” and pledged that “the public sphere in Israel will be open and safe for all,” there have been days of confrontation at focal points of friction here.

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For many Israelis, this is not a fight over one little girl’s walk to school. It is a struggle that could shape the future character and soul of the country, against ultra-Orthodox zealots who have been increasingly encroaching on the public sphere with their strict interpretation of modesty rules, enforcing gender segregation and the exclusion of women.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Perceptions of Migration Clash With Reality, Report Finds – NYTimes.com

Perceptions of Migration Clash With Reality, Report Finds – NYTimes.com.

Perceptions of Migration Clash With Reality, Report Finds

PARIS — Perceptions of the impact of migration in some countries are so distorted that their citizens estimate that there are as many as three times the number of immigrants living there than is actually the case, a global migration body says in a report being released on Tuesday.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Debt and politics in America and Europe: Turning Japanese | The Economist

Debt and politics in America and Europe: Turning Japanese | The Economist.

Debt and politics in America and Europe
Turning Japanese

The absence of leadership in the West is frightening—and also rather familiar

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