The growing appetite for armed drones in the Middle East

FOR YEARS Al-Anad air base was the springboard for America’s drone war in Yemen. Remote-controlled Predator aircraft wielding Hellfire missiles would take off from the base in Lahej province, in the south-west, to clobber hundreds of suspected jihadists across the country. In January a familiar high-pitched whine returned to the base as a drone emerged from the clouds

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Saudi Arabia’s missile race

IN 2016 Muhammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto ruler, announced the latest stage of “Saudisation”—the replacement of foreign workers with Saudi ones. It now appears the policy does not stop at swapping out bankers and bakers, but extends to ballistic missiles. Satellite photos analysed by researchers from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and reported by the Washington Post, appear to show that Saudi Arabia has been building a factory for rocket engines, at an existing missile base in al-Watah, south-west of Riyadh

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Africa: Things We Didn’t See Coming – Bill and Melinda Gates Annual Letter

[Gates Foundation] DedicationWe’re dedicating this year’s letter to our dear friend and Bill’s Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, who died of cancer last October. Paul was a brilliant man with a wide-ranging mind and a special talent for explaining complicated subjects in a simple way. He loved to share his passion for music, science, the arts, sports, philanthropy, and so much more

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Four decades after its revolution, Iran is still stuck in the past

FOR A FEW tense moments it seemed as if the flight carrying Ayatollah Khomeini back to Iran would not make it. Two weeks had passed since the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, had left the country amid enormous protests against his autocratic rule. Khomeini’s aides were eager for the ayatollah to return from exile in Paris and fill the power vacuum

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Binyamin Netanyahu’s obsession with the press

IN OCTOBER 2015 a journalist called Amir Tibon was asked by his editors at Walla!, a popular Israeli news website, to analyse Binyamin Netanyahu’s handling of a wave of shooting and stabbing attacks by Palestinians. The resulting piece was balanced, but included some mild criticism of the prime minister. According to Mr Tibon, the next morning he received a phone call from his editor-in-chief, who said, “We can’t publish this.

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Zimbabwe’s economic crisis prompts protests and repression

For a few zollars more ON JANUARY 16TH Zimbabweans awoke to a text message from Econet, the country’s main internet provider. Citing a warrant from the office of the president, the firm said that the day before it had suspended its services. “The matter is out of our control,” it added

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