Places that are not Iran or Palestine

4 10 2007

If you take a look at the tag cloud over there you’ll notice that I’ve been disproportionately addressing Iran, Palestine and Israel. I figure that’s inevitable – those are places with a lot of conflict (Iraq obviously has conflict, too, but I avoid writing about it as much because it’s incredibly depressing). Also, the only person who has ever commented here is Iranian, and I have to address my audience’s interests. But I thought maybe today I could switch it up and see what’s going on in other places.

According to al-Jazeera there have been more than 200 forest fires in Lebanon over the past two days – they think someone set the fires deliberately, either to obtain coal as a cheaper source of fuel (most likely) or for political reasons.

In Saudi Arabia there’s apparently been a little loosening of taboos over women driving – that is, they’re discussing it. There was a question about this on my Reporting exam yesterday, and I missed it, which is maybe another reason why I should check out news in other countries.

Saudi Arabia is a very conservative country (a lot of the time pundits in the United States take laws or customs from Saudi Arabia and erroneously behave as if they apply to the whole Muslim world, which is annoying), so it’s always good to hear about taboos breaking down there.

Kuwait is predictably a little boring. The big headline on Kuwait Times today is that the king made a speech about how the legislative and executive branches should work ‘hand-in-hand’ for Kuwait’s future. Which means, as far as I can tell, exactly nothing. I suspect Kuwait Times is a government newspaper, because government newspapers love to report on boring speeches made by government officials.

And finally, almost a month after the fact, Israel has admitted to attacking northern Syria on September 6. Israeli officials had refused to confirm or deny that the attack had even taken place, but when the Syrian president went on record yesterday to say that the attacks had indeed happened, Israel had to say something. They wouldn’t say why they did it – the U.S. press is speculating that North Korea was shipping some kind of nuclear technology to the area, but a lot of people think Israel was targeting arms headed for Hezbollah in Lebanon.