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Stories from and

Parenting 101: How to Raise Children the Arab Way

Satirist Karl Sharro dishes out some parenting advice on Twitter to his 51K followers, on how to bring up children, after reading news today that Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has announced a major cabinet reshuffle.

The Saudi king has appointed his nephew, Minister of Interior Mohammed bin Nayef, Crown Prince, and his son and Defense Minister, Mohammed bin Salman, has been made Deputy Crown Prince.

Sharro tweets:

He adds:

Sharro explains the importance of having parents hang their own pictures all over the house:

For more parenting advice, wait for Sharro's new parenting book:

Did I mention Sharro is a satirist?

Tracking Infrastructure Damage in the War in Yemen

Hundreds of people have been reportedly killed in fighting in Yemen since Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign against the country on March 26. Backed by its Gulf Arab allies, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia started an airstrike operation, dubbed Decisive Storm, against Houthi fighters who took control of Yemen in January.

Reports from the ground say that a refugee camp, schools, airports, a bridge, factories and homes have been destroyed so far.

Yemeni blogger Noon Arabia explains:

She adds:

We are tracking news and stories on the infrastructure damage in Yemen in this war at Global Voices Checkdesk, a partnership project with Meedan.

Checkdesk is a liveblogging tool for journalists, with built-in tools to allow citizen journalists and staff journalists alike to make and verify reports. Anyone from the newsroom community can submit a report — a Tweet, a photo, video or other type of media — and add details that bring important context to the report. Staff journalists can then add these reports to a developing story.

Email us here to join our team.

Mapping Lebanese Journalists on Twitter

Mustapha Hamoui, aka @Beirutspring is mapping the presence of Lebanese journalists on Twitter. For that he is compiling a list with their Twitter handles. The list includes non-Lebanese journalists who also report on the country. You can access the Google doc or update it here.  

Iran's Minister of ICT Suggests Instagram Will Not Be (Completely) Blocked Until an Alternative Is Found

Page 15 of Shargh newspaper contained the headline: "The promises of the Minister of ICT to clear the problems of mobile social media.

Page 15 of Shargh newspaper contained the headline: “The promises of the Minister of ICT to clear the problems of mobile social media. Those responsible at the ministry are preparing a campaign.” Screenshot by author.

Iran's leading reformist newspaper, Shargh, ran an article this past Sunday entitled: “The promises of the Minister of ICT to clear the problems of mobile social media.” The focus of Iran's Minister of Information and Communication Technology Mahmoud Vaezi was the filtering status of popular mobile applications, with a particular focus on Instagram.

He told Shargh the following: 

اصلا نگران نباشید. تصمیم مشخص ما آن است که فعلا برنامای برای محدودیت فعالیت شبکهای اجتماعی موبایلی نداریم و قطعا زمانی این موضوع را اعلام خواهیم کرد که جایگزیهای مناسبی برای این شبکها در داخل کشور ایجاد شده باشد.

You should not be worried. Our policy is that we will not restrict the activities of any mobile social media, and when we do announce it, it will be when we find an alternative for this network inside the country.

The popularity of mobile applications has led to some directives from institutions outside of the current administration's hands, such as the Judiciary for filtering. Shargh noted:

بعد از چندیبار تذکر از سوی نهادهای بالادستی به وزارت ارتباطات مبنی بر ارائه برنامای جهت نظارت هرچه بیشتر بر محتوای این شبک ها، «فیلترینگ هوشمند» به عنوان اولویت برنامای دولت مطرح شد زیرا واعظی وزیر ارتباطات معتقد است تمام آنچه از طریق این شبکها منتشر مشود، شامل محتوای نامناسب نیست، بلکه نزدیک به 90درصد مطالبی که روی این شب ها قرار مگیرد، جزء محتوای پاک است.

After a few warnings given to government by higher authorities, the ministry decided to use smart filtering, which will be the priority in the government’s program to monitor social networks, because [Minister for ICT] Vaezi believes all the materials published by these networks are not bad. Close to 90% of the materials publicized on these networks are clean materials.

Current smart filtering of Instagram pages means Iran-based mobile users are blocked from viewing selected pages.

Following the publication of this post, one Internet researcher, Amir Rashidi noted the Minister's statement regarding no viable ‘alternatives’ is a political form of appeasement between hardline elements (such as in the judiciary) and those who support more Internet freedom (such as the Rouhani administration). As noted in the Tweet below by researcher Nariman Gharib, Lenzor exists as a local Iranian alternative to Instagram.

@maasalan there is an alternative right now in Iran. Lenzor

— Nariman Gharib (@ListenToUs) April 12, 2015

@maasalan @ListenToUs i think “alternative” is just an excuse for him to keep hardliner away from blocking those apps

— Amir Rashidi (@Ammir) April 12, 2015

 

‘Western Women Don't Care If They Are Raped on the Roadside,’ Says Saudi Historian

A screenshot of Youtube video. Used under CC BY 2.0

A screenshot of a video on YouTube showing Saudi historian Dr Saleh Al-Saadoon making his infamous claim

Saudi historian Dr Saleh Al-Saadoon says women in the West drive because they “don't care if they get raped on the roadside.” He made the remarks in an interview with Rotana Khalijia, a Saudi-owned television channel aimed at Gulf countries, in his defense of a Saudi prohibition that bans women from driving. The video, which created an outcry online, was shared far and wide on YouTube. 

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving cars. There have been many efforts to break the ban, most recently on October 26, 2013, when dozens of women shared videos driving cars in the day they plan on defying the ban.

The Saudi “historian” notes that:

Unlike riding a camel, driving a car places a woman in danger of being raped, which for Saudi women is a much worse experience than for any women in the western world where women “don't care” if they are raped.

To make his interview worse, he suggested a solution to import “foreign female drivers” to drive Saudi women to prevent a potential rape by contracted male drivers.

Question Time: How Many Jihadists Have Military Backgrounds?

Taking the cue from a Der Spiegel report on the mastermind behind the structure of ISIS, Palestinian blogger Iyad El-Baghdadi tweets:

Der Spiegel names Iraqi Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi, killed in Tal Rifaat in Syria in January 2014, as the “architect” of the ISIS, an Al Qaeda off-shoot which has come to control larges swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, leaving terror, death and destruction in its trail. It says al-Khlifawi was a former colonel in the intelligence service of Saddam Hussein's air defense force.

El-Baghdadi adds:

And explains:


Turn On Fact-Checking:

Help us track and verify stories on the number of ISIS top command with military backgrounds in our Global Voices/Checkdesk partnership project here.

Tracking the Death Toll of the War in Yemen

Hundreds of people have been reportedly killed in fighting in Yemen since Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign against the country on March 26. Backed by its Gulf Arab allies, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia started an airstrike operation, dubbed Decisive Storm, against Houthi fighters who took control of Yemen in January.

We are tracking news stories and leads on the death toll in this war at Global Voices Checkdesk, a partnership project with Meedan.

Checkdesk is a liveblogging tool for journalists, with built-in tools to allow citizen journalists and staff journalists alike to make and verify reports. Anyone from the newsroom community can submit a report — a Tweet, a photo, video or other type of media — and add details that bring important context to the report. Staff journalists can then add these reports to a developing story.

Email us here to join our team.

Are ISIS Fighters in Rakka Infested with Skin Disease Leishmaniasis?

News is spreading that ISIS fighters in the Syrian town of Rakka have been hit by a skin condition caused by a parasite known as Leishmaniasis.

According to the World Health Organisation, the disease is “caused by the protozoan Leishmania parasites which are transmitted by the bite of infected sandflies.The disease affects some of the poorest people on the planet, and is associated with malnutrition, population displacement, poor housing, a weak immune system and lack of resources.” Newspaper accounts describe it as a “deadly flesh eating disease.”

Thalia Rahme is looking for leads to verify the story at Global Voices Checkdesk, a partnership project with Meedan.

Checkdesk is a liveblogging tool for journalists, with built-in tools to allow citizen journalists and staff journalists alike to make and verify reports. Anyone from the newsroom community can submit a report — a Tweet, a photo, video or other type of media — and add details that bring important context to the report. Staff journalists can then add these reports to a developing story.

To join Thalia's team, send her an email from her Global Voices Online page.

Discover Yemen through its Literature: Six Contemporary Authors Worth Reading

On Arabic Literature in English, M. Lynx Qualey presents six contemporary Yemeni authors worth discovering.

She points out:

As you might expect from a troubled nation with relatively little modern literary output, there aren’t many translations of Yemeni work available in English. However, there are some, as several Yemeni authors have received regional and international acclaim.

These authors are: Mohammad Abdul-Wali, Zaid Mutee Dammaj, Ali al-Muqri, Wajdi al-Ahdal, Nadia Alkowkabani and Shawqi Shafiq.

Qualey was inspired to write about those Yemeni writers by an article published in Yemen Times on March 23, 2015, entitled “Political Crisis and Yemen's Literary Insurgence”. The article mentions other renowned authors such as Marwan Ghafory, Mohammed Algharbi Amran , Habib Sorori, Safa’a Al-Habal, Ahmed Al-Sakkaf or Samir AbdulfattahRamzia Al-Iryani.

It speaks about how the political crisis affected the publishing sector and how, on the other hand, “what the country is going through gives writers a will to write. They try to reflect on what is happening around them within their works.” The article continues: “Ongoing political turmoil may not bode well for Yemen, but if 2014 is any indication, the outlook for its national literary scene is a promising one.”

ISIS Burning US Food Aid for Syria

Turkish journalist Mete Sohtaoğlu, who is based in Istanbul, reports that ISIS is burning US food aid destined for Syria “because it is not halal” – or Islamically permitted or lawful.

He tweets the following photographs to back up his report:

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