The fallout in Gaza: Squeezed from both sides

EVEN as Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, hopes to restart negotiations with Israel after a four-year hiatus, bolstered, perhaps, by an upgrade in status at the UN, the talks have begun without him. Within days of the ceasefire that ended a week-long war, officials from Israel and Hamas, the Islamists who run Gaza, arrived in Cairo to flesh out the agreement. Loth to recognise each other formally, officials from the two sides are meeting in Egypt’s intelligence headquarters and communicating through intermediaries.The results can already be seen at Gaza’s port

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Saudi women: Sacred texts

No need to call JUST a few years ago Saudi women could only travel in the company of a male relative, whether husband, brother or son. Pressed by reformists, the kingdom eased the rules, allowing women over the age of 52 to travel alone, and younger ones too, so long as their male guardian secured an official “yellow slip” giving his consent. The Saudi passport authority has now made things easier still.

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Syria’s crisis: Bashar bashed

Detailed instructions available online ABDULKADER SALEH cuts a lonely figure inside his sandbagged base in a rebel-controlled district of Aleppo. Most of the men from the 33-year-old commander’s brigade are out taking part in an operation in Aleppo province, attacking a Syrian army base to the north-west. If they succeed, they will open up a swathe of land and take out one source of the shelling that makes life in city miserable.Since rebels advanced into Aleppo in July, Syria’s second city has been a microcosm of the nationwide stand-off between President Bashar Assad’s forces and the opposition fighters

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Sudan: Losing the plot

THE most surprising thing about a foiled coup in the Sudanese capital on November 22nd was how little it surprised anyone. Rumours of plots have circulated in the city since the secession of South Sudan last year. Within hours of tanks briefly rattling on to a street not far from the palace of Omar al-Bashir, the president, at least 13 of the usual suspects from the army and security services were in detention.

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South Africa: Home Affairs Respects Court Ruling On Dalai Lama

[SA Govt]Pretoria -Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor has noted the decision handed down by the Supreme Court of Appeal stating that government had delayed a decision to grant the Dalai Lama a visa last year.

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Africa: Europe Signs Pact to Protect Traditional African Agriculture Products

[Ghanaian Chronicle]The European Commission has signed a co-operation agreement with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) to improve the protection of traditional agricultural products (geographical indications -GIs) in Africa.

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