Lebanon launches "The intellectuals" newspaper

The protests in Lebanon are ongoing, although we hear less about them. The protestors are not only railing against their poor standard of living, with the price of goods becoming more expensive, but also against corrupt politicians. When I was there, I was told by numerous people, who were supporters of all sides, that the politicians accepted loan...
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What next for Israel?

Although I've just arrived back from Vietnam, I've been following what is going on in the Middle East. Most of Asia is deeply unstable. You just don't hear about it in the same way that you do the Middle East. I presume it's because this region is more important geo-politically than Asia to the rest of the world, particularly with its abundance of ...
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What is Turkey's attitude to Syrian Kurd refugees?

The issue of refugees has been an ongoing problem since the war in Syria began eight and a half years ago. There are Syrian refugees, and others, heading to Europe as well as many making Lebanon and Turkey their home. Now there are Kurdish refugees who are victims of Turkey's ongoing onslaught in Northern Syria, about 10,000 and half of them childr...
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Differences between cultures in attitudes of old age

Living in Vietnam has interesting cross-cultural insights. I've also lived in Dubai, London, New Zealand, and, for a shorter time in the US. The approach to age is different in all these places. In Vietnam, it seems that anybody over 30 years (and Westerners look older than Vietnamese) is considered "old" and you are expected to retire by 50. Famil...
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​Are Middle Easterners conformist?

Do you have to conform to survive in the Middle East? By conform I mean abiding by the religious norms and to the dress code. The answer is a resounding "yes" but is that not true of most societies?   This is what I wrote on conforming for Behavioural Shift. Unwilling to conform? That's what happens as you age Is the "younger generation" confo...
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Yemen and Saudi Arabia: the Riyadh Agreement

We can read about the complexities of Yemen and it sounds such a scary place. It isn't. I spent three weeks there in 1998, and some of our travelling companions were kidnapped and killed in the process of being freed. That rarely happened in Yemen as those who were kidnapped were usually released after the kidnapping ransom- usually in the form of ...
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Airshows and what they mean

Airshows are an important indication of how the aviation sector is faring. The number of orders that Airbus and Boeing receive are important to commentators and journalists alike who write thousands of words on which airline is buying what. I've been at the Dubai Airshow many times and when I was attending in about the late 2000's to 2014 the airli...
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Saudi and Israel in the news

Saudi Arabia is hitting the headlines because of Saudi Aramco's planned initial public offering. The IPO values the company at USD1.7 trillion, but the country's de facto ruler, Mohammed Bin Salman, had wanted a valuation of USD2 trillion, however. Saudi Aramco made net income of USD 111 billion for 2018. With the IPO valuation it is the world's mo...
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The future of the Middle East

Two politicians shake hands with Egyptian and Sudanese flags in the background The Middle East will always be subject to changes in geography (that's the nature of the region) and foreign intervention – usually on a country basis- has often led to these changes. What will happen over the next few years? It may be that the region changes geographica...
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Put a stop to human trafficking

Thirty-nine people were killed, all of whom were Vietnamese, in a refrigerated container discovered in Grays, Essex, South East England. It's a sad story. The victims, some of whom were teenagers, suffocated to death. They were from provinces in Northern and Central Vietnam- Ha Tinh and Nghe Provinces to be exact. I have been living in a neighbouri...
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The future of Lebanon and Iran's role in it

The resignation of Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri has caused new turmoil for the country. The new government will have to form a coalition. Is that possible? The protestors have been on the streets for 13 days and have demanded an overhaul of the ruling class and an end to corruption. At the same time, Lebanon is battling with a hugely indebt...
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The future of IS following the death of Al- Baghdadi

While many things are driving events in the Middle East, chief among them is the alleged death of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the IS leader, by the US. He reportedly killed himself after running into a dead-end tunnel during a military raid in north west Syria. He detonated an explosive vest, killing himself and three of his children. What happens next? ...
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Lebanon's protests and the debt crisis

For years, Lebanon has been a hotbed of dissenting views and religions. With about 20 religions this is not surprising. Indeed, since 1943 the government is organized along religious lines, giving everyone a say. The President must be a Maronite Christian and the Speaker of Parliament must be a Shi'a Muslim. The Prime Minister must be a Sunni Musli...
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Why Saudi Aramco's IPO looks doomed to fail

The expectation of high oil prices has been allowing Gulf Arab states- particularly in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait- to undertake large infrastructure projects and for locals to live comfortably, often with subsidized utility bills and the granting of land by the rulers for local males. For this to continue, crude oil prices have to remain ove...
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Are you only as old as you feel?

What constitutes "old" is an issue that plagues all societies, including the Middle East. I'm reading an article in one of New Zealand's online papers that says older women are over 30. This article asks some key questions about the issue.  I wrote this article for Behavioural Shift (www.BehaviouralShift.com).​ How old is "old"? Is it when som...
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NZ Superfund performs well in annual report

Key items of interest include: The NZ Superfund has delivered its annual report and the results are good. Here is a summary: - On pages 40 – 41, we delve into the factors driving the recent shifts in the economic and investment environment: "It has been a fascinating 12 months for investment markets with two dominant drivers through 2018: central b...
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UAE buyers still seek London property despite Brexit

While the British might be reeling from the fall in sterling and the fact that overseas holidays are more expensive, some foreigners like the Emiratis are viewing the Brexit chaos as an opportunity to buy into the property market in Central London. The current Brexit fiasco has resulted in a 25% discount on some property. This is how Arabian Busine...
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Fury over KSA's 100% shisha tax

I was curious to read this in Dubai-based "Arabian Business" , a weekly magazine, although not surprised. Smoking shisha is a common past time in all the Gulf Arab countries. Often shisha is smoked instead of drinking alcohol. Therefore, to tax shisha at 100%, on top of the 5% sales tax already introduced, is hefty and it has not gone well in Saudi...
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Progress seen in French initiative for US-Iran talks

The on-going tensions between Iran, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the West (the US in particular) are likely to come to a head soon. Trying to negotiate a truce between the parties is France and Emmanuel Macron in particular. This article explains what is happening. 'The only game in town': Progress seen in French initiative for US-Iran talks Laura Roz...
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The growth of online education courses

When it comes to education, people are taking matters into their own hands. Technology and a changing global economy are facilitating this. As a consequence, the 40-year career is gone, replaced by life-long learning and diverse career paths. Learners are molding education into what they need for today's work world, which means 'bite-sized' learnin...
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