August 9 to 13, 2010

– Saudi regulator lifts BlackBerry ban (09//08/10) The Financial Times

Saudi Arabia’s telecommunications regulator said on Tuesday that it was allowing the three mobile network operators in the kingdom to continue to operate Research in Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry instant messaging service. However, the Saudi authorities wish to access and monitor the BlackBerry messaging service – an encrypted text messaging service that enables users to communicate with each other quickly and in secret. A deadline imposed on RIM and the local telecoms operators to meet Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) security requirements had been expected to come into effect on Monday.

– Ramadan: Hard, the first days (Ramadan: durs, les premiers jours) (12/08/10)Le Soir

Muslims around the world have started fasting for one month. This year, the fasting will be more difficult because of the higher temperature and the longer days of the month of August. Le Soir has asked some Muslims living Belgium how they make compatible their professional life and religious faith. According to them, the first days are the most difficult. However, Ramadan remains for them a special time of sharing and meeting within the family and the community.

– EU: Abbas close to accepting direct Mideast peace talks (13/08/10) Haaretz

European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton said in a letter that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas may agree to direct Middle East peace talks with Israel as early as next week. Abbas indicated on Monday he could go to direct talks, provided they were based on a March 19 statement by the Quartet. The Quartet says Israel should halt settlement building in the West Bank and reach a full peace agreement with the Palestinians within 24 months, creating a state on the basis of the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war.

– Gaza’s Siege Mentality: Not Deprivation But Desperation (13/08/10) Time

In the streets of Gaza, young children are playing war games. Although the population is not starving, children suffer from psychological effects – stress, anxiety, hyperactivity, aggression, bed wetting – due to the 2006 war and the blockade. Perhaps most damaging, psychologists and residents say, is the feeling that there is no way out, no way to change Gaza’s future. The frustration may be particularly acute for young people and can lead to a desire to flew the 360km² strip or, more dangerous, to more violent behavior.

– The kibbutz: 100 years old and facing an uncertain future (13/08/10) The Guardian

In 1910, the first kibbutz was founded on strongly Zionist socialist principles. One hundred years later, the movement is still holding on but some are asking if, despite the reforms and adaptations, this unique form of collective living is facing an existential crisis in a globalised, market-driven, individualist world. The kibbutzim that have privatised and reformed insist it is a mechanism for keeping the flame of collectivism alight, rather than a rejection of the old ideals.