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Woman pummels Saudi religious policeman 17, May 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia.
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Great news from Saudi Arabia: a woman has attacked a member of Saudi’s religious police, ‘repeatedly’ punching him forcing him to go to hospital. The situation arose after the policeman sauntered through an amusement park looking for people’s nights to ruin non-married couples fraternising, which is – of course – illegal in the Kingdom. He stopped a man and [this] woman but for unknown reasons the man collapsed prompting the woman to give him a good kicking. Houra!

Hat tip: Sultan Al Qasseimi

Texas textbooks to alter history 17, May 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations.
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Christian evangelists on the cusp of a majority on Texas’ schools board are seeking to change the curriculum and the books from which children will be taught. Some of their sought changes include:

  • Sidelining Thomas Jefferson, famous for (among other things…) his views on the necessary separation of church and state.
  • A “new focus on the significant contributions of pro-slavery Confederate leaders during the civil war.”
  • Asserting that the right to bear arms is an “important element of a democratic society”.
  • “Suggestions” that the anti-communist McCarthy witch-hunts of the 50s may have been a good idea.
  • References to slavery will be dropped in favor of references to the “Atlantic triangular trade”
  • The Israel-Palestinian conflict will be “recast…as driven by Islamic fundamentalism”.

This is an utterly deplorable state of affairs. I expect this kind of retrograde Orwellian rubbish from tin-pot dictatorships around the world, not from the US.

GDP of the Silk Road v Europe v US 17, May 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, China.
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I discovered this graph over at silkroadeconomy.com the always excellent blog of Ben Simpfendorfer. It shows – as I am sure you can read – the relative wealth/GDP of the US, Europe and of the ‘Silk Road’. A useful counterfactual, I think, against instilled notions of Western hegemony.

On Dubai’s sex trade 17, May 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in The Emirates.
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The Observer has an article sure to whip up the anti-Dubai bashers into a frenzy commenting on the widely known and widely seen prostitution in Dubai. Here are the ‘best’ bits:

It is impossible to estimate accurately the prostitute population of Dubai. The authorities would never give out such figures, and it would be hard to take into account the “casual” or “part-time” sex trade. One recent estimate put the figure at about 30,000 out of a population of about 1.5 million. A similar ratio in Britain would mean a city the size of Glasgow and Leeds combined entirely populated by prostitutes.

Although strictly illegal under United Arab Emirates’ and Islamic law, it is virtually a national pastime.

Cyclone, a notorious whorehouse near the airport, was closed down a few years back, but then it really did go too far – a special area of the vast sex supermarket was dedicated to in-house oral sex.