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Yemen's New Acting President: Abd Rabu Who?
Late last night - after hours of rumors - Ali Abdullah Salih left Yemen for Saudi Arabia and more medical attention.
My guess is that his wounds are much more severe than Yemeni officials have let on, as Salih was well aware that leaving Yemen would make it incredibly difficult for him to return. (This is why he cancelled a planned trip to the US in March.)
There is a lot of speculation right now about whether or not Salih plans to return to Yemen and if the US and Saudi Arabia will be able to prevent him from doing so if he tries.
Most Yemenis are hoping and praying that he is gone for good, but fearing he may attempt a comeback.
Regardless, the fighting goes on. In Taizz today a handful of protesters have been killed, and it is reported that some of Salih's sons and nephews have remained in the country, possibly in a desperate attempt to hold some sort of a beach-head until the old man can attempt a return.
In the meantime, Vice President Abd Rabu Mansur Hadi has taken over as acting president, although he is running the government (or what's left of it) from his office in the Ministry of Defense.
Hadi is not seen as a strong player on the Yemeni political scene - he was named VP after the civil war in 1994 largely as a gesture to the south. Despite being from the southern province of Abyan, Hadi remained loyal to Salih during the war, which earned him locally the name of an al-zumra southerner, an Arabic word meaning "group or troop" that has come to signify those southerners who backed Salih.
When Salih needed a southerner for balance, he chose Hadi, who was everything he was looking for: loyal, weak, and from the south.
Hadi has been a background player since he was named vp - while Salih's family and clan continued to gobble up the headlines and positions - although Hadi's family also benefited from proximity to power. His brother, who narrowly escaped assassination in 2009, is head of security in Abyan.
Today, Mareb Press, printed a brief bio of the acting president, which is largely a resume converted into a word document. Since it is in Arabic, I will provide a couple of highlights:
Hadi was born in 1945 in the of Dhakin in Abyan. A career military man, Hadi spent some time in the UK studying military tactics back when Aden was a crown colony in the 1960s.
Later, after the war that led to Britain's departure from Aden and the rest of the south, he got close to South Yemen's new patron, the USSR, spending four years in Russia for more military training.
During the civil war in 1994 he was briefly appointed Minister of Defense before being named vice president later that year.
According to most, Hadi has neither the ambition or the ability to go after the top post for any extended period of time. But power has been known to dazzle most who draw near. For the moment, with rumors of Salih's return floating about and the fighting still continuing, most things in Yemen remain murky.
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.
- Outplacement is an underperforming $5 billion dollar industry. A new non-profit coalition by SkillUp intends to disrupt it.
- More and more Americans will be laid off in years to come due to automation. Those people need to reorient their career paths and reskill in a way that protects their long-term livelihood.
- SkillUp brings together technology and service providers, education and training providers, hiring employers, worker outreach, and philanthropies to help people land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries.
Source: McKinsey Global Institute analysis [PDF]<p>Work in understanding the skills at the heart of the new digital economy is leading to novel assessments that allow individuals to prove mastery to faithfully represent their abilities—but also to give weight and stackability to the emerging ecosystem of micro-credentials that make education more seamless across time and education providers. And we are seeing the beginnings of a renewal in the liberal arts, focused on building human skills in affordable ways that are accessible to many more individuals and far more effective.</p><p>Amidst these dark times, there is much opportunity to refresh the nation's education and training solutions to support the success of individuals and society writ large.</p>