Wednesday Papers: or al-Sharq al-Awsat (Updated)
One of the things I have noticed over the past few years is that when it comes to the big three pan-Arab dailies - al-Sharq al-Awsat, al-Hayat, al-Quds al-Arabi - it is al-Sharq al-Awsat that most closely mimics US and western reporting trends, at least on Yemen.
The paper routinely translates (sometimes poorly) articles from the NY Times, Washington Post and LA Times and runs them the day after they appeared in the US. I don't think this is necessarily good or bad - it just is. (Well, ok, I think al-Quds al-Arabi has more "gets" than either of the other two, although my knowledge of al-Hayat is rapidly diminishing as I'm often too frustrated with its new website design to actually find my way clear to reading the paper.)
This is all a long introduction to saying that al-Sharq al-Awsat has kicked off a new series on Yemen today, with its first part on al-Qaeda and the countries youth - which is not surprising particularly in light of the increased press Yemen has been getting in the US.
The thing is nine pages long, which means I have yet to read it, but as I'm far behind on a number of projects I wanted to link to it now, before it gets lost in the shuffle. I've never heard of the author, Abd al-Sitar Hatitah, so we'll see what sort of contacts he has. I'm willing to suspend judgement even in the face of the mistake in the front page teaser, which labels Abu Hurayrah al-San'ani (Qasim al-Raymi) as the Amir of al-Qaeda - he is actually, now, a military commander in the organization. Still, I don't think Hatitah writes captions so we will let him slide here.
Also in today's papers is the identity of the commander, 'Aidrus Thabit Ghalib al-Sabri, who was killed yesterday in Sa'dah. I tend to agree with those who say that over the past several months there have been enough sparks to re-ignite the conflict - why this has not happened is, I think, an interesting question. The push for renewed fighting, if and when it comes, will come from the government, and why the government has not pushed for another full round of conflict is, at least in my mind, still an open question. I think it is apparent that some - probably on every side - are eager for another round of fighting, but so far they have been unable to push the principal actors into the abyss.
Update: My mess of a third paragraph has now been fixed. Thanks David.
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Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this? They stay at the top of the ladder, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.
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