Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sauds' Arabia to rival Iran with nuke weapons

According to reports, Saudi Arabia has threatened' to develop its own nuclear weapons if and when its rival Iran has acquired the capability. The two countries have already been widely said to be in a 'Cold War', which would certainly impact on the upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa as well as the foreign policies of major Muslim'-majority countries in the larger world, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

Saudi bans Indonesian & Filipino maids' entry

Saudi Arabia has reportedly banned the entry of domestic workers 'or maids from Indonesia and also the Philippines apparently in response to criticisms' of these two Asian republics' against the many cases of physical and sexual abuses of their domestic workers in the kingdom. The logical question that follows is which countries Saudi Arabia now turns to for supply of domestic workers to meet the 'market' demand. Where will Indonesia's and the Philippines' surplus labour find jobs on earth is surely a socio-economic theme worth exploring by the media.

Sunflowers serve to rid soil of nuke radiation

Recent news reports from Japan have suggested that' sunflowers can function to decontaminate soil 'polluted by radiation 'leaked from the nuclear power reactors damaged by the earthquake and also tsunami.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Iran to have its Sputnik Moment with monkey

Iran, which is widely said and believed to be' in a 'Cold War' now with Saudi Arabia, has planned to send a live monkey into' the space next month. Saudi Arabia's response and reaction is really worth watching.

Saudi Arabia's concerns on earth clearer now

In recent months, Saudi Arabia's responses to the MENA upheavals as well as' its global strategy have become clearer' to the world on earth. Its domestic conditions or happenings are often very newsworthy too. Occasionally, Saudi Arabia is also hit by forces of nature in the forms of torrential rain or sandstorm. Not too long ago, there was a sudden concern about volcanic activities on the western part of the kingdom which has planned' to build sixteen nuclear reactors by the year 2030. The eastern portion of the country, which is closer to Iran and where most of the country's oil is found, is mainly populated by the Shi''ites.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pertinent point on Saudi women employment

The extraordinarily high rate' of unemployment among womenfolks in Saudi Arabia' seems to have received official attention. But the fairly critical as well as inescapable question is still whether the acquisition of' marketable skills alone can solve the structural problem, while the many religious restrictions on women's physical movement and social interaction, such as the very disputable driving ban, are still in place. Probably, the unspoken fear is that, once all the existing restrictions on women' are removed, many more' male enforcers of' the curbs are going to be unemployed or unemployable as' they have no other skills.

WSJ: Saudi Arabia now in 'Cold War' with Iran

According to a recent report in the' Wall Street Journal , there is now a 'Cold War' between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi Arabia is also in an open and serious diplomatic dispute with Indonesia which is the most populous Muslim-majority ('and Sunni-predominant') country on earth. Moreover, Pakistan and Afghanistan' officially attended' a conference held in Tehran although Saudi Arabia requested them not to be there. Saudi Arabia's grand geostrategy to isolate and contain Iran does not seem to be working very well so far, even among countries which are Muslim-majority and Sunni-predominant like Afghanistan or Pakistan, although its preeminence among smaller and closer Gulf Arab nations such as Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, is still solid.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Saudi Arabia's way of job creation for women

Saudi monarch Abdullah''s' royal decree on lingerie shops 'is 'projected to be generating 1.5 million new jobs for women in the kingdom. The official jobless rate in the very rich country is estimated to be 10.5'%. The rate of unemployment amongst Saudi women and girls is, almost needless' to say, particularly high as the results of the many religious restrictions placed on their physical movement and social interaction.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saudi now says no apology offer for Indonesia

Saudi Arabia has reportedly said that it did not apologise to Indonesia over the beheading of an Indonesian' maid, which, whether' there was actually a Saudi apology made or not, 'has aroused pretty intense' and also' fairly widespread sentiment in the republic against the kingdom. President Susilo' Bambang Yudhayono' has criticized Saudi Arabia and imposed a ban on Indonesians traveling to that Arab country for jobs.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Indonesia freezes labour flow to Saudi Arabia

Besides imposing a ban on Indonesia''s citizens going to' Saudi Arabia to work, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhayono also hit out at' Saudi Arabia over the decapitation of a maid in the Arab kingdom.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Saudi apologizes to Indonesia over execution

Saudi Arabia''s ambassador to Indonesia has' reportedly apologised to the infuriated republic over the beheading of a maid 'in the kingdom. Whether the apology would calm Indonesians remains to be observed.

Clinton backs right to drive for Saudi women

US State Secretary Hillary Clinton has expressed her open support for the right of women in Saudi Arabia, such as Manal el-Sherif, to drive. The rights of womenfolks in Saudi Arabia to cast ballots and stand as candidates in' the upcoming municipal election are still not that clear.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Furious Indonesia summons Saudi ambassador

Besides recalling its ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Indonesia' has also summoned Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the' republic to register' its' protest over the decapitation of an Indonesian maid in Saudi Arabia.

Maid's execution in Saudi infuriates Indonesia

The decapitation of an Indonesian maid in' Sauds' Arabia' has sparked popular outrage and grief in the republic. The Indonesian government has recalled its ambassador to the Arab kingdom to signal its protest.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Indonesia recalls top envoy from Saudi Arabia

Indonesia has decided to recall its ambassador to' Sauds' Arabia' after the execution ('by decapitation') of an Indonesian maid in the oil'-rich Arab kingdom has angered a broad segment of people in the republic.

Indonesia slams Saudi over execution of maid

Reportedly, Indonesia criticizes Saudi Arabia for beheading a maid of Indonesian nationality. Earlier this year, Indonesia' was also incensed by a Saudi court decision to acquit an already convicted Saudi woman who tortured a 23'-year old Indonesian maid in' a fairly brutal manner. The fairly vibrant civil society and mass media' in Indonesia, which is the most populous Muslim-majority nation in this world, are believed to be very critical of Saudi Arabia''s heartless treatment of the maids.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Al Qaeda's new chief could launch "big" strike

According to one expertly as well as respectable assessment, the' new Al Qaeda chief Ayman Zawahiri could do something "big" to stamp his authority as the successor to Osama and to avenge the latter's death. But, Ayman Zawahiri has been characterised as an "armchair general" who lacks the charisma, credentials and also skills of his predecessor.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ayman al-Zawahiri named Al Qaeda's supremo

Reportedly, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri has been named by Al' Qaeda as the successor to Osama bin Laden but' it is said that the former is an "'armchair general'" 'who lacks' the skills and credentials of Osama. Whatever the assessments on Ayman al''-Zawahiri, the ideas and also actions of his loose network are detrimental to international security.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Italians vote against option of nuclear energy

A convincing majority of Italians have voted against nuclear power in a recent referendum. Lessons of the nuclear crisis in Japan are being learned' by people, governments and civil societies' all over the world. Germany has decided to shut down' all of its nuclear reactors by 2022.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Italians go to referendum over nuclear future

Italians have begun voting on a referendum to decide on the question of nuclear power. Germany has decided' to phase out nuclear reactors by 2022 while anti'-nuke sentiment in Japan' is said to be widespread.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Debate in Japan over future of nuclear plants

3 months have passed since the literally catastrophic earthquake and tsunami' hit Japan. There is now a debate on whether to close all' the 54 nuclear power reactors. The decision has its benefit and also cost. Germany' has opted' to phase out all its' nuclear power plants by 2022.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Saudi monarch bans men from selling lingerie

Saudi monarch Abdullah's order of banning men selling lingerie seems to have' delighted many Saudi women. However, there are' also other women who worry that' it may not be enforced by lower authorities in the economically rich' but socially most conservative society on earth. King Abdullah, who was flew to the USA' for medical treatment in last November and returned in February this year, 'is now 87 years of age.

Bahrain tests US balance of ideals & interests

Indeed, Bahrain is a classic case of how' the United States' has always to balance and re'-balance its' ideals and interests in a complex world. Bahrain may be puny in size but its geostrategic significance is great.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Emancipated women in Soviet Union in 1940

By 1940, women in the ex'-USSR had already served as airforce pilots. Many more Soviet womenfolks also joined the Red Army to fight Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War which ended in Berlin's liberation.

Saudi royal body for women's electoral rights

Reportedly, a council of palace advisers in Saudi Arabia has urged for the' rights of womenfolks to vote as well as to stand as candidates in municipal elections in the oil-rich Gulf Arab kingdom. Meanwhile, the campaign of many Saudi women' for the right to drive cars continues. No other countries on earth, including Iran', bans women driving cars.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Political future of Bahrain now at a crossroad

Bahrain has lifted its emergency rule, but discontent is, as I expected earlier, continues to simmer. Certainly, it is a right move on the part of the Obama administration to push even harder for political reform in the puny island-state before' (1)' it becomes a de facto province of either Saudi Arabia or Iran and' (2) the hearts as well as minds of the majority' of the young and more idealistic reformists are won by Iran. The crucial questions now are (1) how much reform the ruling class in Bahrain is ready and willing to' concede or 'grant'' without' itself being threatened ?' (2)'' how much reform' the majority of Bahrainis wants ? and' (3)' how much reform' in Bahrain the nervous and watchful ruling class in Saudi Arabia is ready to accept as it fears the demonstration effect of a freer Bahrain and increase of Iran's influence among freer Bahrainis ?' Iran still demands the withdrawal of the Saudi Arabia'-led GCC troops from Bahrain' whose future is still pretty far from certain.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

ISIS publishes new book on economy of M' sia

Malaysia''s Institute of Strategic and International Studies '('ISIS')' has recently published and launched a' book titled Malaysia : Policies and Issues in' Economic Development. Learned friends who are reading it have told me that it is' a good and useful' book for deeper knowledge. Certainly, our society needs' more good books to further upgrade the quality of public discourse as well as to halt' its tabloidizing tendency.

My on-air comment today on MENA upheavals

In my three-minute on'-air analysis, given to Radio AiFM just now, on the development in the Middle East and North Africa, I remarked that although there are external influences, the domestic factors are more critical in triggering off the still unfolding change in the region whose oil-power makes it fairly important for us to follow the events closely.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Germany to phase out nuclear power by 2022

Having learned its' lessons from the nuclear crisis in Japan, Germany, the' largest economy in Europe, has decided' to phase out nuke power by 2022. What would be the economic consequences of this decision ? Does the benefit, in all its forms, of this decision outweight its cost ? Meanwhile, the nuclear crisis in Japan is still being observed and also studied for lessons by many governments, experts, NGO's and people.