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Solar power could save water in thirsty Middle East, North Africa, analysis says
15 May 2018 - Thirsty Middle Eastern and North African countries could tap into their solar-energy potential to cope with freshwater scarcity, according to resource experts. Water could be saved by switching to renewable solar energy from fossil fuel electricity generation that uses up water, said the World Resources Institute (WRI). Fresh and sea water is often used in the process of cooling fossil-fuel power plants, ubiquitous in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the World Bank. ... Solar panels, meanwhile, require little or no water to install and maintain. (more)

Middle Eastern filmmakers celebrate historic Oscar nominations
24 January 2018 - A Lebanese and a Syrian film director both made cinema history this week when their films became the first ever from their home countries to be nominated for Oscars. Ziad Doueiri's Lebanese drama 'The Insult,' was nominated for best foreign language film, while Syrian Firas Fayyad's 'Last Men in Aleppo,' which focuses on the work of the White Helmets volunteer rescuers, was nominated for best documentary. (more)

Breaking barriers, Arab-Israeli women join movement to 'wage peace'
24 October 2017 - Frustrated with the peace process, more Arab-Israeli women are joining the ranks of Women Wage Peace, rejecting pressure not to 'normalize' relations with Israeli Jews. 'We want, in our own way, to make peace,' says one member. ... The women held their biggest event this month, a two-week march throughout the country that included stops in Arab cities and in a section of the West Bank near the Dead Sea that is under combined Israeli and Palestinian control. The march drew 10,000 women, including 2,000 Palestinian women from the West Bank. (more)

The Israelis and Palestinians who work together in peace
11 July 2016 - In hospitals, schools, and businesses, Israeli Arabs, Jews, and Palestinians are working side by side to forge a better future. The Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital sits on what was an Arab village that was cleared when the Israeli army attacked it in 1948 and the Arab residents fled. Today the hospital is a rare island of calm where Jews, Israeli Arabs, and some Palestinian staff work together to treat patients. The Max Rayne Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem, on the 'green line' between the Jewish neighbourhood of Patt and the Arab neighbourhood of Beit Safafa, has a mix of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim pupils. The school has seen an unprecedented demand with 200 students on a waiting list across six Hand in Hand schools in Israel. Sikkuy, an organisation that runs Ramadan tours for Jewish Israelis, was sure bookings would drop drastically after four people were killed in an attack on a market in Tel Aviv last month. But during Ramadan, the group held 50 tours for more than 1,500 people, to 10 Arab towns and villages. In the technology sector: Forsan Hussein, a Muslim Israeli, and his Jewish compatriot Ami Dror started Zaitoun Ventures nearly two years ago to help build and support Jewish-Arab startups. Zaitoun Ventures is an investment business that helps create technology companies in cooperation with Israeli and Arab business people in Israel, the occupied West Bank, and the wider Middle East. (more)

Young Middle Easterners to hold online peace conference
14 June 2016 - Tens of thousands of young people from across the Middle East are expected to participate next week in an online peace conference that organizers say is a powerful message against extremism. (more)

Prehistoric 'Stonehenge' monument in Golan Heights fuels mystery
11 November 2015 - Driving past it, one of the most mysterious structures in the Middle East is easy to miss. The prehistoric stone monument went unnoticed for centuries in a bare expanse of field on the Golan Heights. Known as Rujm el-Hiri in Arabic, meaning the 'stone heap of the wild cat', the complex has five concentric circles, the largest more than 500 feet (152 m) wide. Its Hebrew name Gilgal Refaim, or 'wheel of giants', refers to an ancient race of giants mentioned in the Bible. It is up to 5,000 years old, according to most estimates, making it a contemporary of England's Stonehenge. There could be an astrological significance. On the shortest and longest days of the year -- the June and December solstices -- the sunrise lines up with openings in the rocks, said Uri Berger, an expert on megalithic tombs with the Israel Antiquities Authority. (more)

Arab youth use social media to send message of peace to Israel
28 June 2015 - Youths from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other Arab countries are sending messages via Facebook declaring that they do not hate Israel and expressing hope for better relations. (more)

Young people hold Middle East peace talks online
19 May 2014 - With the collapse of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, hundreds of thousands of young people across the Middle East are talking reconciliation online, a former Israeli peace negotiator and founder of the movement said Monday. Uri Savir, himself an ex-peace negotiator between Israel and the Palestinians and founder of 'Yala Young Leaders', said the size and scope of his group shows that young people in the Middle East want peace. (more)

Pope to travel to Holy Land in May amid peace push
5 January 2014 - Pope Francis will travel to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan in May, his first visit to the Holy Land and one that comes amid a new US push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Francis told thousands gathered in the rain for his weekly Sunday blessing that 'in the climate of joy that is typical of the Christmas season', he was announcing a visit 24-26 May to Amman, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. The visit underscores Francis' close ties to the Jewish community, his outreach to Muslims, and the Vatican's longstanding call for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. (more)

Unlocking the Middle East
30 November 2013 - Iran is a country 77 million-strong with a rich imperial history: it is also the most important Shia Muslim power. If it changes its outlook, the whole of the Middle East will change with it. Imagine that Iran one day concluded that spreading mayhem ultimately tends to create trouble at home and began to view its neighbours in terms of opportunities rather than threats. That would do more for the security of Israel and Saudi Arabia than any number of weapons agreements. (more)


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PM Netanyahu: 'Show me the science!' - Expert presents scientifically-validated Invincible Defense Technology to end violence, bring peace to Middle East
23 August 2014 - We ask Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: 'Show me the Science!', writes Dr David Leffler in MEPeace.org (Middle East Peace). PM Netanyahu asserts that bombardment of Gaza will continue . . . 'until we guarantee full security and quiet for the residents of the south and all citizens of Israel'. Is bombing going to create lasting peace? Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying, 'Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.' PM Netanyahu should be commended for his lofty goals of 'full security and quiet'. They are statistically viable, if he supports his words with a proven, advanced military technology for Israel's military arsenals. Lasting peace and prosperity are a consequence of the scientifically-validated approach of Invincible Defense Technology (IDT). Extensive in-field military experience, coupled with peer-reviewed research shows that IDT can effectively, efficiently, and quickly end the current turmoil, and eliminate the rising spiral of violence. If the defence forces of Israel quickly deploy this statistically-verified approach, real and lasting peace and prosperity for both sides can be assured--not by guesswork bombardment and rocket retaliation, but by a scientifically-verified means to end the decades-old cycle of violence.
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An outsider's view of how to calm Middle East - Gaza tension: Mangalorean reports on Invincible Defence Technology
5 August 2014 - The Hamas arsenal of rockets keeps on coming as the Israeli military continues its offensive by hitting the Gaza Strip with its artillery fire and air strikes. . . . Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns that the Israeli military is hitting Hamas ''with growing force,'' and he guesses there is no end in sight. . . . Yet the mounting misery could end quickly and age-old tensions could be rapidly reduced if PM Netanyahu added a proven, advanced military technology to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) arsenal, writes Dr David Leffler in today's Mangalorean (India). Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) has been field-tested by foreign militaries, and scientifically validated by 23 peer-reviewed studies carried out in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. . . . The IDT approach has been used during wartime, resulting in reduction of fighting and in number of deaths and casualties, and in progress toward resolving the conflict peacefully. (more)

New horizons for creating coherence and harmony in a wide-ranging area
19 June 2013 - In the region encompassing southeastern Europe to western Asia, reports from several countries indicated progress, laying a foundation to create a peaceful, harmonious influence in society through Transcendental Meditation. In Armenia a large percentage of the population has already learned the technique and its advanced programmes over time. A Transcendental Meditation teacher in Pakistan recently gave two widely viewed television interviews and other presentations that inspired many people to learn the stress-reducing technique. And an ancient city in northern Iraq hosted the first Transcendental Meditation course held in the region for some time. (more)

'Reducing tension in the Middle East': Op-ed article published worldwide, available online in over 50 locations
25 December 2012 - In the past month, 'Reducing Tension in the Middle East', an op-ed article by David Orme-Johnson, PhD, and David Leffler, PhD, has been published in many countries worldwide, and is now available online in over 50 locations. The article presents a scientifically proven technology of consciousness--known as Invincible Defense Technology: group practice of an advanced form of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique. 'What we are suggesting is that the military of Israel, or any organization, establish such coherence-creating groups to quickly reduce tensions in the Middle East. . . . The predicted outcome is accelerated progress towards a just, equitable, lasting peace.' (more)

OpEdNews article urges US Congress to deploy Invincible Defense Technology to create a lasting peace
13 December 2012 - An article about creating peace in the Middle East through a proven technology of consciousness--groups of people practising an advanced form of Transcendental Meditation--has been published in many countries worldwide, most recently in OpEdNews. OEN is offering its readers an opportunity to let their local news media know about this scientifically verified solution--as well as, in the United States, their elected representatives in the US Senate and House of Representatives. (more)

Reducing tension in the Mideast: Israel's military recommended to quickly implement peace-creating groups of advanced meditators
30 November 2012 - As several Latin American countries have done, the military of Israel is recommended to establish peace-creating groups of advanced Transcendental Meditation practitioners to quickly reduce tensions in the Middle East. This could be a scientific experiment, using objective measures and independent, outside observers--with the predicted outcome of accelerated progress towards a just, equitable, lasting peace, conclude Dr David Orme-Johnson and Dr David Leffler. 'Are we as nations to go on like rats trapped in a conditioning cage, reacting the same way decade after decade?' they write. 'Or shall we step out of the cage into the transcendental level of our own consciousness and grow up into enlightened human beings, rather than continuing to resort to destroying and killing? This is the choice we have right now.' (more)

Reducing tension in the Mideast: More research on a peace-creating technology of consciousness
29 November 2012 - The article 'Reducing tension in the Mideast' by David Orme-Johnson, PhD, and David Leffler, PhD, continues its review of published research showing the effectiveness of a peace-creating technology of consciousness--group practice of an advanced form of Transcendental Meditation--to reduce violence and war and increase harmony and social coherence. The article continues to be published widely in the last several days in news outlets around the world. (more)

Reducing tension in the Mideast: Experts propose scientific solution based on technologies of consciousness
28 November 2012 - Deep-rooted ethnic and national stresses embedded in the collective consciousness of the region are at the basis of the Israel and Hamas conflict, as in all other conflicts worldwide, write David Orme-Johnson, PhD, and David Leffler, PhD, in an article published in many countries in the last few days. Unless these stresses are rooted out, the authors emphasize, destruction and killing will continue, as they have for millennia. Now there is hope, they say, through a proven technology of consciousness to create peace. Scientific research has found group practice of an advanced form of Transcendental Meditation to reduce stress and create social coherence, as seen in reduced war deaths, terrorism, and crime and increased cooperation and other positive trends. (more)

One year of Global Good News in Arabic: Website with good news from Middle East, North Africa
11 January 2012 - The Global Good News Arabic-language website, www.arabic.globalgoodnews.com, just celebrated the completion of its first year featuring good news from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The website was launched on 10 January 2011 for the 358 million people in 25 Arabic-speaking countries, as well as millions of other Arabic-speaking people around the world. (more)

Middle East: Students find a technique to create inner and outer peace
29 December 2011 - A group of Arab university students in the Middle East who practise Transcendental Meditation recognize the great promise of the programme, made possible through the generosity of the David Lynch Foundation. Like their peers in many countries, they enjoy its benefits in the reduced stress and growing mental clarity, peace, and happiness they are finding within themselves. They also have the satisfaction of knowing that through their group meditations they are radiating peace and coherence to the whole region. (more)


Flops
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Amphetamine combo linked to Islamic State more potent than thought
16 August 2017 - A synthetic psychoactive drug linked to substance abuse in the Middle East and said to be a fund-raising tool and stimulant for Islamist militants is more dangerous than previously thought, scientists said on Wednesday, 16 August. The stimulant, called fenethylline and by its trade name Captagon, is a super-boosted amphetamine, they said, and has unique chemical complexities allowing it to induce potent psychoactive effects far more rapidly than amphetamines alone. ... Scientists ... said Captagon's unique structure and mode of action may explain why it has become so widely abused. They warned its popularity among drug users could spread from the Middle East across the world. Production and trafficking of the drug -- which the Scripps team said is 'very easy to make' -- and counterfeits of it, are reported to be a source of revenue for militant groups in Syria and Iraq. (more)

AP Analysis: Qatar crisis exposes a long Gulf family fight
6 June 2017 - Gulf Arab nations often get considered one giant family, as many ruling tribes intermarried and have long ties stretching back to the days before oil turned dusty fishing villages into skyscraper-studded metropolises. But if the last day has proven anything, it's that every family fights. The diplomatic standoff between Qatar and its neighbors has exposed longstanding faults running just under the surface of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional body meant to serve as a counterbalance to Iran. None of the key countries -- Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates -- appears to be backing down, calling into question the unity of the council just as it seeks to portray itself as standing up to Iran. (more)

Qatar row: Saudi and Egypt among countries to cut Doha links
5 June 2017 - A number of Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region. They say Qatar backs militant groups including so-called Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda, which Qatar denies. The Saudi state news agency SPA said Riyadh had closed its borders, severing land, sea, and air contact with the tiny peninsula of oil-rich Qatar. ...The unprecedented move is seen as a major split between powerful Gulf countries, who are also close US allies. comes amid heightened tensions between Gulf countries and their near-neighbour, Iran. The Saudi statement accused Qatar of collaborating with 'Iranian-backed terrorist groups' in its restive eastern region of Qatif and in Bahrain. [The BBC looks at:] What has happened? Why has this happened? What has been the reaction? (more)

Qatar row: What's caused the fall-out between Gulf neighbours?
5 June 2017 - On Monday 5 June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE, and the internationally recognised Yemeni government severed their diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism. In addition, the states announced that they were suspending air, sea, and land transport with Qatar, while Qatari citizens are required to return home within two weeks. Qatar's support of the Saudi and UAE-led operations in Yemen is also suspended. This might seem familiar. These states (aside from Yemen) withdrew their diplomats from Doha in 2014 over a similar set of concerns. That spat was resolved within nine months. But the core issues remain. On this occasion, though similar motives fuel the dispute, the fact that Qatar's land border with Saudi Arabia -- its only land crossing -- will be suspended shows a severe escalation, given just how critical this border is for Qatar's imports, including food. (more)

Millions of migrant Gulf workers forced to pay for right to work: report
11 April 2017 - South Asian migrants powering the construction boom in oil-rich Gulf countries are often illegally made to pay for their own recruitment, adding to hardships of poor working conditions and wages, according to an investigation released on Tuesday. Millions of migrants seeking a way out of poverty by working in Gulf nations from Qatar to the United Arab Emirates must routinely pay fees that can equal a year's salary, U.S. researchers said in a report. (more)

NASA study reveals: Drought in 1998-2012 in Mideast worst in 900 years
3 March 2016 - A recent, 14-year dry spell in the Middle East was the worst drought in the past 900 years, according to a new NASA study released this week. NASA's researchers examined records of rings of trees in several Mediterranean countries to determine patterns of dry and wet years across a span of 900 years. They concluded that the years from 1998 to 2012 were drier than any other period, and that the drought was likely caused by humans. The study's lead author Ben Cook said the range of extreme weather events in the eastern Mediterranean has varied widely in the past nine centuries, but the past two decades stand out. Cook is a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City. Cook said the research supported other studies indicating human causes of extreme climate events. Last year, researchers at Columbia University and the University of California Santa Barbara found that drought triggered a collapse in agriculture in Syria and the migration of 1.5 million farmers to the cities, straining resources. (more)

Islamic State sanctioned organ harvesting in document taken in U.S. raid
25 December 2015 - Islamic State has sanctioned the harvesting of human organs in a previously undisclosed ruling by the group's Islamic scholars, raising concerns that the violent extremist group may be trafficking in body parts. The ruling, contained in a January 31, 2015 document reviewed by Reuters, says taking organs from a living captive to save a Muslim's life, even if it is fatal for the captive, is permissible. (more)

Expert: Friends recruit most Islamic State fighters
25 November 2015 - Three-quarters of those who become foreign fighters for the Islamic State extremist group are recruited through friends and 20 percent through family members, a terrorism expert said Tuesday. Scott Atran, co-founder of the Center for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Oxford University, who has interviewed captured fighters from the Islamic State and the al-Qaida linked Nusra Front, said leaders of the Islamic State group 'understand youth much better than the governments that are fighting against them.' They know how to speak to the rebelliousness and idealism of youth, he said, and they are very adept at using social media to target young people 15 to 24 years old. Their playbook includes hitting soft targets everywhere because it's impossible for nations to defend cafes, theaters, and stadiums, Atran said. (more)

Officials: IS determined to produce chemical weapons
19 November 2015 - The Islamic State group is aggressively pursuing development of chemical weapons, setting up a branch dedicated to research and experiments with the help of scientists from Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere in the region, according to Iraqi and U.S. intelligence officials. Their quest raises an alarming scenario for the West, given the determination to strike major cities that the group showed with its bloody attack last week in Paris. So far the group has used mustard gas on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria. 'Daesh is working very seriously to reach production of chemical weapons, particularly nerve gas,' Hakimal-Zamili (head of the Iraqi parliament's security and defense committee) said, using an Arabic acronym for the group. 'That would threaten not just Iraq but the whole world.' (more)

Cholera spreads from Iraq to Syria, Kuwait, Bahrain: UNICEF
6 November 2015 - A cholera outbreak in Iraq has spread to neighbouring Syria, Kuwait, and Bahrain, and risks turning into a region-wide epidemic as millions of pilgrims prepare to visit the country, UNICEF's Iraq director said. The outbreak can be traced to a number of factors including low water levels in the Euphrates and winter flooding that has contaminated the river and shallow wells with sewage water. The war against Islamic State militants who control large swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq has also contributed to the outbreak. (more)

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